Common name: Western Painted Turtle
Scientific name:
Chrysemys pict bellii 

Habitat:
Western Painted Turtles are the only remaining native freshwater turtle in BC. Coastal populations are endangered and many historically occupied sites no longer support viable populations.

Diet:
This species will feed on insects, snails, earthworms, frogs, tadpoles, algae, aquatic plants, and carrion.

Median Life Expectancy:
10 years

Biology:
The Western Painted Turtle is named after the bright yellow stripes on its head, neck, tail and legs. It has a bright red/orange belly (plastron) with different black and yellow patterns. They have webbed hind feet and slender claws on their front feet with males having much longer claws than females.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo along with partner organizations is part of a headstarting program for Western Painted Turtle recovery efforts. Headstarting means that eggs are gathered in the wild (or from a captive breeding population) and the animals are given a "head start" in life by being hatched and raised to a more mature stage in a safe, predator-free environment before being re-released into the wild. This greatly increases the number of turtles surviving into adulthood.

British Columbia’s freshwater ecosystems are continually impacted by pollution, climate change, invasive species and predators. The Endangered Wetland Recovery program in BC aims to increase diversity and functionality of wetland habitats by conserving the Western Painted Turtle, an endangered wetland species. Several turtle nesting beaches have been constructed to increase available nesting habitat for female western painted turtles. These nesting areas are also monitored and maintained by Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC) and Coastal Painted Turtle Project (CPTP) staff/members, Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD) staff, park association members and volunteers to ensure they are kept free of invasive vegetation and remain suitable for turtle nesting. 

Conservation Status:
Endangered

Fun Fact:
Did you know that Western Painted Turtles hibernate in the winter?