The painted turtle is the most widespread native turtle of North America. It lives in slow-moving fresh waters, from southern Canada to northern Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The turtle is the only species of the genus ''Chrysemys'', which is part of the pond turtle family Emydidae. Fossils show that the painted turtle existed 15 million years ago. Four regionally based subspecies evolved during the last ice age.
The adult painted turtle female is 10–25 cm.. more