Introducing… the Midland Painted Turtle!The Midland Painted Turtle is a type of painted turtle found in Ontario and Quebec. It is one of four subspecies of painted turtle, identifiable by the symmetrical dark grey markings underneath its bottom shell. Its top shell is dark and looks a bit like a puzzle, made up of oddly-shaped pieces – kind of like a soccer ball! The turtle’s skin is striped, with yellow stripes on its face and red stripes on its arms, legs, and tail. These yellow and red markings are also sometimes found on its top shell, making the “painted” name even more appropriate! It has webbed feet to help it swim and both males and females are usually 13-17 cm long.
Growin’ up turtleIt can be tough to grow up without someone to take care of you but that’s life for a baby painted turtle. They are on their own from the moment they hatch because their parents don’t stick around to raise them. Females lay their eggs (about 15 at a time) in a freshly dug nest, covering them with sandy soil and when she’s done, she abandons them. But before she leaves, she also digs a few fake nests to distract predators from the real nest so that the eggs can hatch, and the babies can get to safety.
Livin’ la vida turtleThe painted turtle makes its home in streams, ponds, wetlands, and marshes that have thick muddy bottoms – these are usually full of food like plants, animals, and insects. They may be slow on land, but underwater the turtle is speedy when it comes to scoping out a meal!
They need our help!Wetlands are important habitat for many animals, including Midland Painted Turtles, but sadly, this habitat is disappearing. That’s why it’s so important we conserve and restore the natural spaces that painted turtles call home, like southern Ontario’s Lathrop Nature Preserve – and that’s where you come in!
Earth Rangers is working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) on a project that will help rebuild and replant this important habitat. The Lathrop Nature Preserve is over 100 years old and besides being home to awesome animals like the Midland Painted Turtle, did you know it’s also home to a wetland that helps fight climate change?! Not only do wetlands help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they also help us deal with the effects of climate change by preventing extreme weather events like floods and droughts. Pretty cool right? Do your part to help protect this important natural space by adopting a Midland Painted Turtle today!