The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.
As I always say, a little background research on the turtle species before welcoming them home is necessary. For example, the native regions of the pets or their preferred habitats. It gives you an idea of how to build a habitat for them.
Usually, all the aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles live in water sources like ponds, rivers, lakes, streams, marshes, etc. Unlike them, box turtles inhabit the wetlands beside the water sources. On the contrary, sea turtles can not survive in freshwater, but only in salty oceans.
Don’t you want to know the geographical ranges of these turtle species? Keep reading to explore more on the habitat choices of these turtles.
26 Different Turtle Species With Their Native Locations
Knowing the native regions of your pet turtles has a huge advantage. Say, you live in Texas. So, adopting a turtle endemic to this area is always better. This way, you can easily control the pet’s habitat environment and offer it a nature-like vibe.
Let’s explore the homes of different turtle species.
1. Pond Sliders
There are mainly 3 types of pond sliders. Such as red eared slider, yellow bellied slider, and Cumberland slider. Some other subspecies of the pond sliders are also found in different geographical locations.
2. Red Eared Sliders
The red eared sliders are native to the Central and Southern USA. Their habitats cover Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Colorado, and Texas, extending to the Gulf of Mexico.
Also, the range stretches to West Virginia and Eastern New Mexico. These red eared sliders have an increased population in Canada too.
Generally, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, swamps, and marshes are suitable homes for the red eared sliders in the wild.
3. Yellow Bellied Slider
The yellow bellied turtles population is concentrated in the southeastern part of the United States. You will find this species in the following states,
- Southward portions of Virginia
- Carolina coastal plains
- Northern Florida and
- Eastern Alabama
Yellow bellied sliders are also seen in parts of Columbia.
The yellow bellied turtles are freshwater creatures and live in slow-moving streams. The habitats include swamps, floodplains, bays, sinkholes, sloughs, oxbows, lakes, ponds, rivers, and marshes.
Go through the fool-proof guide to raising yellow bellied turtles from this write-up.
4. Cumberland Sliders
Unlike red eared sliders and yellow bellied turtles, Cumberland sliders are only found in 2 states,
- Eastern Northeastern Tennessee
- Southeastern Virginia
Nowadays, the Cumberland sliders are also seen in the Mississippi River, Alabama, Georgia, and Illinois. These turtles will thrive in any muddy area with low vegetation.
5. D’Orbigny’s Sliders
The D’Orbigny’s sliders are not endemic to the USA. Instead, the subspecies come from,
- Southern Brazil (Rio Grande Do Sul)
- Northeastern Argentina
Any swamp, marsh, lake, or stream can be a potential habitat for these turtles.
6. Painted Turtles
The painted turtles primarily occupy North America. Besides, their homes stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from southern Canada to northern Mexico.
4 subspecies that belong to the painted turtle species are,
- Western painted turtles
- Eastern painted turtle
- Southern painted turtle
- Midland painted turtle
Though the native places vary among the subspecies, the habitat choice is more or less the same. Generally, these turtles prefer ponds, lakes, wetlands, creeks, and slow-moving streams.
7. Western Painted Turtles
The Western painted turtles are found mainly in the Southern part of Eastern Canada and the western parts of the USA. States with western painted turtle populations are,
- British Columbia
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
8. Eastern Painted Turtles
All the native places for the eastern painted turtle are in southeastern Canada and the east of the USA. From Georgia to Nava Scotia, eastern painted turtles are the most popular turtle species here. The species inhabit the following states,
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
- New Jersy
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- New York
- Nava Scotia
9. Southern Painted Turtle
Unlike the above 2 subspecies, the southern painted turtles’ population is not widely spread. The turtles are mainly seen in the following 4 states in the southern USA,
10. Midland Painted Turtles
The midland painted turtles are native to both Canada and USA. In the USA, the species is vastly found in the below areas,
- West Virginia
- New York
11. Pond Turtles
You will find several subspecies under the pond turtle category. They are divided based on their native places and appearances.
Regardless of the origin, the habitat requirements of all pond turtles are the same. The species live in ponds, sandy or muddy-bottomed canals, marshes, creeks, small lakes, reservoirs, and irrigation ditches.
The native range of different pond turtle subspecies is discussed below,
|Pond Turtle Subspecies
|Western Pond Turtles
|From Baja California, Mexico to Washington and British Columbia, including western Oregon
|Yellow Pond Turtles
|Eastern Asian areas like Ryukyu Island, central Vietnam, Taiwan, Hainan, coastal areas of south and central China, etc.
|Red Necked Pond Turtles
|Northern Vietnam, Hainan, and Chinese provinces, such as Guangxi and Guangdong.
|Giant Asian Pond Turtles
|In parts of Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and throughout Vietnam and Cambodia
|Chinese Pond Turtles
|China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Hongkong
|Japanese Pond Turtles
|Japan and its Islands
|European Pond Turtles
|Western Asia, Northwestern Africa, and South and Central Europe
|Spanish Pond Turtles
|Western mainland Mediterranean Basin, and from southern France to northwestern countries, for example, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia
|Black Pond Turtles
|Bangladesh, Northeastern India (Asam), Pakistan, and Sri Lanka
12. Black Marsh Turtle
The species also goes by Siamese temple turtle or smiling terrapin. These small turtles mainly inhabit shallow water bodies with vegetation. You will find black marsh turtles throughout southeastern Asian countries. Such as,
- Southern Vietnam
- Southern Myanmar
- Central and Peninsular Thailand
- Eastern and Western Malaysia
- Indonesian islands (Java, Sumatra, and Borneo)
13. Philippine Forest Turtles
According to a survey in 2018, only about 10K Philippine forest turtles are alive right now. The chunk population of this species lives in Northern Palawan and surrounding islands. Their primary habitat is lowland riparian forests in creeks, rivers, streams, and swamps.
14. Wood Turtles
We are familiar with almost 9 subspecies of wood turtles. The main habitats of these turtles are riparian rivers, wetlands, large streams, rivers, hayfields, etc.
Go through the geographical locations of each species from below,
|Wood Turtle Subspecies
|North American Wood Turtle
|Eastern Canada, southern Quebec, southern Ontario, Northeastern states of USA (From Nava Scotia and south New Brunswick to Northern Virginia through New England, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey north sides), northern Michigan, northern and southern Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota, and northern Iowa
|Central American Wood Turtle
|(Central and Northern South America) In the north, the population ranges from Panama and Mexico to Ecuador. Similarly, the habitat is stretched to Brazil in the south.
|Furrowed Wood Turtle
|From southeastern Mexico to Honduras, throughout Central America
|Black Wood Turtle
|Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras
|Maracaibo Wood Turtle
|Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Colombia, and Venezuela
|Spot Legged Wood Turtle
|Throughout South America (Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, French Guiana, and Brazil)
|Brown Wood Turtle
|Central America, South America (north portion)
|Large Nosed Wood Turtle
|Ecuador and Colombia
|Colombian Wood Turtle
|Colombia, Panama and Ecuador
|Painted Wood Turtle
|From Sanora, Mexico, through Central America Pacific coasts to Costa Rica.
More or less 7 cooter subspecies are seen throughout the USA. Basically, the species is endemic to North America and primarily spotted in the eastern and central parts.
The habitat range stretches north to northern Ohio and south to northern Florida. It also includes west to eastern Texas, southern Virginia to central Georgia, north to southern Indiana, and Oklahoma.
Usually, the river cooters prefer large lakes and rivers as habitats. But wetlands, ponds, and floodplain river pools are also considered comfortable homes for these turtles.
Geographical locations of different cooter subspecies are mentioned below,
|Different Cooter Subspecies
|Texas River Cooter
|Texas (Brazos, San Antanio, Neuces), California (Colorado), Guadalupe.
|Florida Red Bellied Cooter
|Florida, southern Georgia, and south Calorina
|Alabama Red Bellied Cooter
|Mobile Bay, Alabama
|Massachusetts and New Jersey to North Carolina
|Coastal Plain Cooter
|USA southeastern coastal plain (from southeastern Virginia to westward Mobile Bay, Alabama and southward Florida)
|Rio Grande Cooter
|Texas, New Mexico, Mexico Rio Grande drainage ( Tamaulipas,Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Nuevo León)
16. Spotted Turtle
Generally, spotted turtles thrive in isolated, localized populations. Unfortunately, the species population is declining, and it is getting rare.
However, spotted turtles inhabit bogs, swamps, wetlands, fens, marshes, shallow aquatic areas with abundant vegetation, wet pastures, etc. You may also find these reptiles in woodland marshes, ditches, small water bodies, and still water.
Though endemic to North America, the species is also seen in Canada. Their distribution starts from Ontario (eastern Greater Lake region) and stretches west to Michigan and south to Illinois.
A handful of spotted turtle populations occupy the eastern seaboard (from southern Maine and Quebec to south Florida). Scattered habitats of the species are also seen in Ohio and Indiana.
17. Yellow Spotted Amazon River Turtles
The name itself implies the native region of these turtles. Yes, the yellow spotted Amazon river turtles are native to North America and live throughout the Amazon River basin. No wonder why the population is mainly seen in the Amazon and Orinoco river systems.
Regions that include the habitat of this species are,
- Northern Peru
- Northern Bolivia
- Eastern Ecuador
- Eastern Colombia
These yellow spotted river turtles mainly inhabit slow-moving streams, lakes, and oxbow ponds.
18. Musk Turtles
Apparently, musk turtles release a foul odor to defend themselves in danger. Hence, the species get their name.
In the wild, the turtles inhabit any permanent freshwater bodies, including lakes, rivers, ponds, shallow streams, and creeks. Though the native distribution of musk turtle subspecies varies, the habitat preference is the same.
|Musk Turtle Subspecies
|Common Musk Turtle
|Throughout the Eastern USA (from south Maine west to Texas, and south to Florida), Wisconsin, southern Quebec, and southern Ontario.
|Mexican Giant Musk Turtle
|Mexico, Venezuela, northeastern Guatemala, Belize, and western Honduras
|Chiapas Giant Musk Turtle
|Razorback Musk Turtle
|Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and Florida
|Loggerhead Musk Turtle
|From central Florida to Lousiana and Virginia (Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, south-central Mississippi) rivers
|Flattened Musk Turtle
19. Mud Turtles
Unlike many turtle species, mud turtles are compatible with fresh and brackish water. From the name, you can guess that these turtles are bottom dwellers. So, you will find mud turtles at the muddy or sandy bottoms of marshes, lakes, wet ditches, small ponds, and fields.
The native habitats of 6 different mud turtle subspecies are,
|Mud Turtle Subspecies
|Red Cheeked Mud Turtle
|Central America, South America, and Mexico
|Eastern Mud Turtle
|Southeastern and Northeastern USA
|Mississippi Mud Turtle
|Eastern Oklahoma, Central Texas to New York and Florida
|Striped Mud Turtle
|Southeastern USA (south Carolina, Georgia, Florida)
|White Lipped Mud Turtle
|Southern Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, and Nicaragua.
|Yellow Mud Turtle
|Nebraska to northern Mexico, southeastern Arizona to Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri
20. Softshell Turtles
The appearance of softshell turtles is very different from other species. Take the shells as examples. These species have flat, soft, and rubber-like shells, which justifies the name.
Softshell turtles can survive fresh and brackish water sources like ponds, marshes, streams, and ditches. They have a minimum of 13 subspecies, divided based on their appearance and location. Such as,
|Softshell Turtle Subspecies
|Spiny Softshell Turtle
|Throughout the United States
|Florida Softshell Turtle
|Throughout Florida, southeastern South Carolina, and southern Georgia
|Chinese Softshell Turtle
|China and Taiwan
|Smooth Softshell Turtle
|Mississippi River drainage (from Louisiana to North Dakota and Pennsylvania)
|Asiatic Softshell Turtle
|Southeastern Asia (Java, Borneo, Sumatra and Lombok)
|Yangtze Softshell Turtle
|Eastern China (Yangtze River and Lake Tai), Southern China (Gejiu, Jianshui, Yuanyang and Honghe in Yunnan Province)
|Malayan Softshell Turtle
|Java, Indonesia, Brunei, Kalimantan, Mayanmar, Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak), Singapore, Philippines
|Indian Softshell Turtle
|Northern India, Bangladesh, southern Nepal, and Bangladesh
|Black Softshell Turtle
|Bangladesh (Sylhet and Chittagong), India (Assam and Tripura)
|African Softshell Turtle
|East, West and Middle Africa, Senegal to Turkey
|Leith’s Softshell Turtle
|Indian river peninsular (Bhavani, Moyar, Thungabhadra, Godavari, Ghataprabha, Thungabhadra), Pune
|Euphrates Softshell Turtle
|Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syrian Arab Republic
21. Snapping Turtles
From the look to the lifestyle, snapping turtles are tough creatures. They will inhabit any permanent or semi-permanent water bodies like lakes, streams, rivers, creeks, and marshes. These turtles are also seen in swamps, bogs, pools, and impoundments.
The 2 subspecies of snapping turtles share differences in appearance and native ranges. For example, the common snapping turtles occupy some western USA states, Central America, and eastern USA to rocky mountains. Their homes are also stretched from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
On the contrary, the habitats of alligator snapping turtles are not that scattered. Their habitat stretches from Florida to Texas and includes northern Illinois.
22. Bog Turtles
The main habitats of bog turtles are wetlands, wet pastures, and wet meadows. These turtles only thrive in sources consisting of calcium carbonate or lime. The species is endemic to the eastern United States, and the population is scattered in colonies.
You will find these turtles in the following places,
- Western Massachussettes
- Western Connecticut
- Throughout New York
- North Carolina
23. Stripe Necked Turtles
Chinese striped neck turtles are popular because of their unique appearance. This species is endemic to China but also seen in Vietnam and Korea. They inhabit slow-moving water sources, ponds, canals, and rivers.
24. Map Turtles
Generally, map turtles inhabit river bottoms, ponds, lakes, and swamps. These turtles require a sandy bottom to thrive. Native distribution of different map turtle subspecies is given below,
|Map Turtle Subspecies
|False Map Turtle
|Missouri and Mississippi River systems
|Cagle’s Map Turtle
|Texas (San Antonio, San Marcos, and Guadalupe rivers)
|Black Knobbed Map Turtle
|Alabama (Mobile Bay Drainage), Jefferson County, Alabama (Black Warrior river), Mississippi (Tombigbee River system)
|Ringed Map Turtle
|Louisiana and Mississippi (Pearl River system)
|Yellow Blotched map Turtle
|Pascagoula River of Mississippi
|Alabama Map turtle
|Eastern Louisiana (Pearl River system) to western Georgia (Coosa and Tallapoosa River), Alabama, Mississippi
|Texas Map Turtle
|Texas (Colorado river basin)
|Barbour’s Map Turtle
|Southwestern Georgia, southeastern Alabama, and western Florida
|Escambia Map Turtle
|Florida (Escambia) and southern Alabama
|Pascagoula Map Turtle
|Pascagoula river, USA
|Northern Map Turtle
|From Ontario and Southern Quebec to northern Vermont
|Ouachita Map Turtle
|Cumberland, Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers
|Sabine Map Turtle
|Louisiana and Texas (Sabine River)
|Mississippi Map Turtle
|Mississippi River and water bodies in Illinois and Missouri
25. Box Turtles
Well, box turtles are neither aquatic nor semi-aquatic. Instead, these turtles live in moist or dry lands like thickets, woodlands, bogs, marshes, and stream banks. The native regions of different box turtle subspecies are,
|Box Turtle Subspecies
|Eastern Box Turtle
|The eastern half of USA (from southeastern Maine to west to central Illinois, south to northern Florida, and to southeastern New York)
|Florida Box Turtle
|Gulf Coast Box Turtle
|From Louisiana to Florida along the Gulf Coast of Mexico
|Mexican Box Turtles
|Mexican states (Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz)
|Woodland Box Turtle
|Three Toed Box Turtle
|South-central USA (From Missouri and Oklahoma, west into Texas and south to Alabama)
|Yucatan Box Turtle
|Mexico Yucatan peninsula
|Aquatic Box Turtle
|Desert Box Turtle
|Southeastern Arizona, from Texas Trans-Pecos region into New Mexico, southern desert regions of Mexico
|Ornate Box Turtle
|Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, Nebraska, Wisconsin
|Spotted Box Turtle
|Asian Box Turtle
|Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo to Singapore and Thailand)
26. Sea Turtles
The mysterious sea turtles can not survive in the freshwaters. They require high salt-concentrated seawater to thrive. No wonder why you can not pet a sea turtle at home.
8 subspecies of sea turtles are available right now, all living in the open ocean. The geographical locations are mentioned below,
|Sea Turtle Subspecies
|Green Sea Turtle
|The green sea turtles are abundantly found in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Besides, these majestic creatures in the USA are seen in Atlantic and Mexican water, from Texas to Maine. The US Virgin island and Puerto Rico are also homes of the subspecies.
|Leatherback Sea Turtle
|Waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean
|Loggerhead Sea Turtle
|Mediterranean Sea, and Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans
|Flatback Sea Turtle
|Mostly in Australian water and a notable population in Papua New Guinea’s coastal water
|Kemp Ridley’s Sea Turtle
|Gulf of Mexico
|Olive Ridley’s Sea Turtle
|Waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean
|Hawksbill Sea Turtle
|Throughout all tropical and subtropical oceans
Before You Go
Can you identify different turtle species? The article below has the simplest tricks to help you determine any turtle species within minutes.