Painted Turtle Is The Official State Reptile of Illinois. in 2005, Illinois designated the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) as the official State Reptile. Representative Bob Biggins introduced House Bill No. 847 designating the Painted Turtle as the official State Reptile of Illinois. The voting campaign for favorite state reptile was done on the Internet.
Other candidates were the Eastern Box Turtle and the Common Garter Snake. The Illinois State Reptile painted turtle is so-named because of its bright yellow, red, and orange markings on the head, the margin of the shell, and underside. State Reptile of Illinois is widespread and common throughout Illinois in the quiet, weedy areas of marshes, ponds, lakes, and backwaters of rivers.
Groups of Illinois State Reptile painted turtles are often seen sunning on logs and banks. The female lays 2-3 clutches of 8-9 soft-shelled eggs from May to July. Hatchlings usually overwinter in the nest. Painted turtles feed on dead fish, insects, mollusks, and plants.
Characteristics of the Painted Turtle:
Key Characters: State Reptile of Illinois Painted Turtle Relatively low, smooth-edged shell; red markings on marginals or plastron upper jaw with median notch bordered by toothlike cusps.
Similar Species: Slider (Melanistic Males).
Description: State Reptile of Illinois Painted turtles are relatively small turtles (5-7 in; 10-18 cm carapace length), colorful with dark shells and yellow stripes on the legs and, blotches or spots on their heads. The edges of the shell are smooth, not serrated, and may have red or yellow hieroglyphic-like patterns on the edge of the otherwise yellow or orange-yellow plastron. Southern Illinois State Reptile Painted turtles are distinguished from other sub-species by a red or yellow stripe that runs down the carapace from head to tail. Their black legs also have red stripes. Females Painted turtles grow larger than males, but adult males have much longer front claws, which they use in mating displays. Hatchlings look like miniature, more brightly-colored adults.
Habitat: Frequents most aquatic habitats but most common in shallow, quiet, weedy parts of lakes, ponds, marshes, and river backwaters.
Natural History: Basking congregations are common on logs and banks. Omnivorous diet includes plants, insects, and mollusks. Readily scavenges on dead fish. Nests May to July. Lays 2-3 clutches of 8-9 flexible-shelled, ellipsoidal eggs (ca. 32 x 20 mm). Hatchlings usually overwinter in the nest.