My family and I were out walking through our neighborhood the other day when we noticed what looked like a bottle cap in the grass. To our surprise, that bottle cap was actually a tiny painted turtle, Chrysemys picta.
Even though it wasn't far from a pond this hatchling was unfortunately lifeless. Because of this, we were able to take a close look at the turtle. The amazing markings and patterns that nature produces never cease to amaze me.
The painted turtle is common throughout the state in shallow bodies of water that offer places to bask. In fact, it will happily spend as many as six hours a day basking in the sun!
It grows up to 8” long. It has a smooth olive shell and yellow stripes on its head, with two distinctive yellow spots behind each eye. Its diet is varied and includes aquatic plants, small fish and snails.
A few days after our discovery we sighted another little hatchling in a totally different area. This second one was lively, clambering through some grass along a path. If you are out walking near water, keep your eyes peeled for "bottle caps!"