Painted Turtle Lifespan: How Long Painted Turtles Live?

Painted Turtle Lifespan

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Painted turtles are excellent for kick-starting your turtle-keeping journey. But before purchasing these tiny creatures, consider their life expectancy in captivity. The species can live a long life, and getting them will be a commitment for all those coming years, both mentally and financially. So, how long do painted turtles live?

In captivity, the lifespan of a painted turtle ranges between 25 to 50 years. The expectancy totally depends on the subspecies and care level.

If you are determined to get a painted turtle, then this article can be helpful to you. I will mention the life expectancy of all the four painted turtle subspecies. Also, I will share the tips that will add years to your pet turtle’s lifespan.

How Long Do Painted Turtles Live?

On average, a captive painted turtle lives between 20 to 25 years. But of course, the pet might live less or longer than that range, depending on the surroundings and care.

Painted turtle has 4 subspecies, each with a different life expectancy. Here is a chart indicating the lifespan of them all,

Painted Turtle Subspecies Expected Lifespan
Eastern Painted Turtle25 to 40 years
Midland Painted Turtle35 to 40 years
Western Painted TurtleOver 50 years
Southern Painted Turtle30 to 40 years

The data I have shared with you is the expected longevity of the painted turtles. Generally, these pets do not live longer than 20 to 25 years. However, I have seen cases where the captive painted turtles lived only 15 years, even with the top-notch care sheet.

Pet Turtle Lifespan & Size Chart

pet turtle lifespan and size

If you want to get a printable version of this amazing chart, click here!

Factors Affecting The Lifespan Of A Painted Turtle

Do you know the painted turtles live shorter in the wild? Yes, that’s right. While the captive painted turtles enjoy a life of 20 to 50 years, the wild species barely cross 30 years. Why is such discrimination?

Well, the answer lies in the surrounding of the turtles. I can think of several factors that affect the life expectancy of a painted turtle, both in captivity and in the wild. For instance,

  • Subspecies
  • Diet
  • Surrounding
  • Health


From the chart given in the previous section, you can see that the life expectancy of a painted turtle varies depending on the subspecies. So, say you have a western painted turtle. Chances are your pet will live a longer life than a midland or eastern painted turtle.


Painted turtles feed mainly on animal matter with a small portion of vegetables. In the wild, these turtles live at the mercy of nature and struggle to collect food. Getting injured or going without any meals for days is a common scenario among the wild painted turtles.

On the other hand, captive painted turtles do not have to fight the odds to fill their tummy. The owners provide them with a balanced diet and necessary dietary supplements regularly.

The availability of food plays a crucial role in deciding the lifespan of the painted turtle. How? You know the turtles get all the vital nutrients from their diets. Without enough food, they lack minerals and vitamins. It eventually leads to a weak immunity system, risks of diseases, and an underdeveloped body.

Hence, captive painted turtles or the pets with available food live a longer life than the wild ones.

Get the diet chart of a captive painted turtle from here.


Painted turtles are freshwater species, and for raising these turtles in captivity, you have to ensure them a proper environment. The essentials for the turtle habitat are,

  • Water source
  • Water filter
  • Tank heater
  • Heating and lighting source
  • Basking dock

If any of these equipment goes missing, it affects the health and lifespan of the pet.

In the wild, painted turtles do not have to worry about the environment as mother nature takes care of that. But these creatures have to go through harsh weather in winter and scorching summer days.

The main challenge in the wild is to survive the predators. You know the painted turtles collect their food by preying on small insects or fish. The turtles often fall under the attack of alligators, badgers, crows, chipmunks, foxes, or other predators.

The risk of attack is high during the basking hours in the sun. Painted turtles can barely escape without a scratch if the opponent is strong.

In captivity, painted turtles do not have to go through any fight or attack of the predators. So, no wonder why they have such a long lifespan. Recently, habitat loss, environmental pollution, and the roadkill frequency have positioned the wild painted turtles in more vulnerable situations. All these factors are deducting years from its total life expectancy.


The wild painted turtles get no medical care or health protection. Even while injured, these turtles heal naturally. On the other hand, the painted turtles are lucky enough to have regular medical checkups and emergency care.

Health is another lifespan deciding factor for the painted turtles. Any severe disease steals years from the creature’s longevity. Deprived of any medical care, the wild painted turtles live a shorter life than the captive ones.

However, even the pet turtles will live less than the expectancy if any disease goes untreated. Shell rot, respiratory infection, metabolic bone diseases, and organ failure becomes life-threatening.

How To Make Your Painted Turtle Live Longer?

As an owner, you have the key to provide your painted turtle with a better life. When you ensure proper care, the turtle tends to live a happy, healthy, and long life. Here are some pro-tips that will definitely help your painted turtle live longer,

  1. Painted turtles grow around 6 inches. Still, they require a spacious habitat. For baby painted turtles get a minimum of 20 to 30-gallon tanks. When accommodating an adult turtle, you have to afford a bigger aquarium of a minimum of 75 gallons.
  2. Install a heating lamp and UV light in the enclosure. The heating source will help the turtles regulate their body temperature and soak wet bodies in the dock. It will prevent harmful bacterial growth and any infectious diseases. Again, the UV rays will aid in vitamin D3 production, calcium absorption, and digestion. Eventually, the painted turtle will build up a strong body structure and immunity.
  3. A tank heater is a must during cold days to maintain a warm water temperature. Otherwise, the pet might suffer from cold or respiratory diseases.
  4. Set up a water filter to eliminate the dirt and messes from the water. It decreases the risk of shell rot or bacteria infection.
  5. A basking dock should be set up at one edge of the habitat. Though painted turtles love swimming, they come to bask from time to time. Basking boosts their digestion and immunity system.
  6. Feed the turtles a balanced diet with essential supplements. Follow a strict diet schedule and food quantity measuring rules.
  7. Take the turtle to a vet at least twice a year. If your turtle falls sick, ask for medical help. Generally, runny nose, appetite loss, lethargy are the symptoms of most diseases.


Painted turtles are such a delight for your home. These pets will accompany you for decades if you make the habitat right for them. Follow the fool-proof care sheet to ensure the best care for your painted turtle.

About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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