June 10th Patient of the Day: Painted Turtle

This Painted Turtle was found, as many are, injured in the road, and brought for treatment to NYWRC. It’s very common in our area to find turtles trying to get from one side of the road to the other, as they follow their territorial water and feeding sources. If you see one, please try hard to avoid it; they’re peaceful souls and deserve a break (and a brake).

If you can safely stop, you can even help the turtle by moving it off the roadway. Be sure to note which direction it is going, and put it on the side it’s heading for. Otherwise, it will just turn right around and try again!

You might want to carry hand sanitizer in the car, and dose yourself well after handling these ancient beings. They have been known to carry bacteria. If you have something with you that will help you avoid touching the animal, that’s even better. Also, know what a Snapping Turtle looks like; handling one of those up close should not be attempted — their reputation for biting in self-defense is well-deserved.

Painted Turtle Facts

These peaceful creatures are New York State’s most common species of turtle. If you frequent ponds and marshy areas, you’re sure to see Painted Turtles, often in numbers, basking on the logs.

Painted Turtles are omnivores, and will eat a wide variety of vegetation, small pond denizens such as crustaceans and fish, and are even known to snack on carrion.

They will dig nests in sandy soil near water, beginning in late spring and early summer, and deposit from 4 to 15 soft-shelled eggs. They may raise several clutches per season, and each clutch will hatch in from 62 to 80 days, depending on the temperature at the time of incubation.  It is interesting to note that hatchling gender depends on temperature as well — warmer temperatures produce more females per clutch.

Both the eggs, and the young, are in danger from many predators, including raccoons, rodents, and snakes.

This brochure, published by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, will help you identify turtles found in our state.

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