Bybee the Western Painted Turtle

  • Hatched: Unknown
  • Arrived at Bird Alliance of Oregon: Unknown
  • Sex: Female

Bybee was found for sale in a Portland Metro-area pet store.  The pet store owner purchased the turtle, along with a larger cohort, from an out-of-state turtle breeder and claimed to be unaware that it is illegal to be in possession of this native species of wildlife, the Western Painted Turtle.  The pet store relinquished the turtles to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife who deemed them non-releasable because they originated from the pet trade and have come into contact with exotic species and potential pathogens.

About Western Painted Turtles

Scientific name: Chrysemys picta bellii

Western Painted Turtles are a subspecies of painted turtles, which are one of the most common turtles in the US. In Oregon, they’re found mostly in the northern part of the state.

The Western Painted Turtle is listed as a “sensitive” by the State of Oregon. They are an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species in the Blue Mountains, Coast Range, Columbia Plateau, East Cascades, West Cascades, Willamette Valley.

  • Habitat: Slow-moving, marshy, shallow waters with vegetation and muddy bottoms. They are found in Canada and in the western United States.
  • Behavior: In warmer climates and during spring and summer months, Western painted turtles sleep on the bottom of the pond and become active around sunrise, basking in the sun on rocks and logs. They forage along the bottom of the pond.
  • Size & Shape: 6-10″ long. The females are larger than the males.
  • Expected lifespan: 20 years in the wild, 25-50 years in captivity.
  • Color: Bright red, yellow and olive on their neck, head, tail, legs and lower shell.
  • Diet: Insects, crustaceans, plants, and algae.