Western Painted Turtle

Painted turtles congregate on a loafing log near Nelson, BC

The interior population of western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta belli ), is blue listed (at risk) in British Columbia. These turtles are the only fresh water turtles native to British Columbia.


No Map Data or Theme for this Species


  • The western painted turtle has a wide distribution, occurring across southern Canada from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, and south to Kansas, Louisiana and Georgia.
  • In British Columbia, they are at the northern extent of their range and are irregularly distributed but locally abundant in southern interior valleys and on the coast in the Fraser Valley and the Sunshine Coast.
  • Found throughout the southern portion of the Columbia Basin as far north as Revelstoke and Golden.


  • Found in the shallow waters of ponds, lakes, marshes, and slow-moving stream reaches.
  • Suitable wetlands have muddy substrates, an abundance of emergent vegetation, and numerous basking sites, such as logs and accessible banks.
  • The habitat of the Western Painted Turtle also includes the riparian zones bordering these water bodies.


  • Painted turtles mate primarily in the spring however they have been observed mainly in the fall.
  • In June to early July the females travel a short distance to sandy south facing nesting areas where they lay 5 to 15 oval, soft-shelled eggs in a flask-shaped hole they dig with their hind legs.
  • In the northern part of their range the eggs hatch in about 10 weeks but usually overwinter in the nest and emerge the following spring.

Listing and Date

Coastal Intermountain
Listing Date Listing Date
B.C. List Red Blue
COSEWIC Endangered 2006 Special Concern 2006
SARA Endangered 2007 Special Concern 2007

Threats to Species

  • Habitat destruction and habitat loss from urban development and reservoir creation
  • Predation - numerous natural predators (coyotes, skunks, badgers and ground squirrels) with eggs and hatchlings being particularly vulnerable.
  • Human related: Traffic mortalities, trampling of nests, harassment, capture of turtles for pet trade.

Select Reports

For more information on this species, visit The Species at Risk Public Registry and/or The BC Species and Ecosystem Explorer where you should and enter "western painted turtle" in the species Name field.



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