How Big Do Painted Turtles Get? [Must Read]

How Big Do Painted Turtles Get?

How big does a Painted Turtle get? There are different subspecies of Painted Turtles, and they can grow to be different sizes, though they might only be about an inch in difference. In this article, we’ll answer the question, “How big are Painted Turtles?” and “How big do Painted Turtles get in captivity?”

How Big Do Painted Turtles Get?
Painted Turtles

Then, we’ll go into detail about the sizing of the different subspecies and share their growth chart. Finally, we’ll discuss how big of a tank you’ll need for your Painted Turtle and how long they’ll live in your proper care.

How Big Do Painted Turtles Get?

In the wild or captivity, Painted Turtles can grow to be anywhere between five and seven inches.

However, they can sometimes be as small as four inches long or as big as ten inches long.

There are a few factors that will affect the growth of a Painted Turtle. For example, their age, diet, gender, habitat, and lighting can either help or hinder their growth rate.

Before we discuss that, there are different subspecies of Painted Turtles. So, let’s discuss how big each one may get.

How Big Do Eastern Painted Turtles Get?

Eastern Painted Turtles can grow to be between 4.5 inches long to 6 inches long. However, there is an Eastern Painted Turtle on record that grew to be about seven inches long.

How Big Do Midland Painted Turtles Get?

Midland Painted Turtles are a similar size to Eastern Painted Turtles. They will typically grow to be no bigger than about seven inches long.

How Big Do Southern Painted Turtles Get?

Southern Painted Turtles don’t normally grow to be any larger than six inches long. Typically, the smallest Southern Painted Turtle is about four inches long on average.

How Big Do Western Painted Turtles Get?

Western Painted Turtles are the largest of all the Painted Turtles. While every subspecies can grow between four and ten inches long, Western Painted Turtles are typically about eight inches long when fully grown. 

What Affects The Growth Of A Painted Turtle?

Some factors will help or hinder the growth of your Painted Turtle.

First, age is a factor. Painted Turtle eggs can be about 1-1.5 inches big. So the bigger the egg, the bigger the baby will be when it hatches. 

Next, diet is also a factor. Depending on the nutrients that they receive, they may grow big and strong. For example, if you give them high calcium and vitamin D like they need to thrive, they’ll grow and develop well.

On the other hand, if they get too many fruits or not enough of what they need, the Painted Turtle’s growth may be stunted.

Gender is another factor. In most cases, males are often bigger than females. However, when it comes to Painted Turtles, the females are always bigger than the males. Females are bigger so that they can carry and lay eggs.

Sometimes, the male might not even grow to be half the size of the female.

In addition, the UVB lighting will also affect their growth. If they don’t get the proper UVB rays that carry Vitamin D, then your Painted Turtle won’t grow properly.

Finally, pet Painted Turtles are often larger than wild Painted Turtles. This is because Painted Turtles in captivity have access to better living conditions.

Even though pet Painted Turtles are confined to an aquarium, they never have to hunt for their food and get regular meals each day. Also, the lighting will provide a general sun cycle through the UVB and heat lamps.

In other words, pet Painted Turtles don’t need to worry about the weather. However, if it’s raining outside, then it’s harder for wild Painted Turtles to bask. Therefore, they can’t digest their food well and might not bother to eat until they get the sun again.

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How Fast Do Painted Turtles Grow?

When a Painted Turtles first hatches, they’re only about a couple of centimeters long. After that, they’re tiny and will grow quickly. In fact, they grow the fastest when they’re juveniles.

You can expect the Painted Turtle to grow about 1.2 cm each year until they reach sexual maturity which is around age ten.

For example, a Painted Turtle should be about five cm or two inches long by the time they’re a year old. By the time they are two years old, they should be about seven cm or 1.7 inches long.

By the time they are ten years old, you can expect their shell length to be about 4.7 inches. Sometimes, this means they’re done growing, but they will probably grow another three to four inches within the next few years.

When your Painted Turtle reaches about six inches long, then you can say they’re fully grown. However, some turtles have been known to grow another inch or two over time.

So, how big do Painted Turtles grow? For a quick look at the growth rate of a Painted Turtle, you can take a look at the Painted Turtle size chart below.

Painted Turtle AgePainted Turtle Length (cm)
15 cm
27 cm
48 cm
1012 cm
2015 cm

How Big Of A Tank Does A Painted Turtle Need?

A general rule of thumb is that the aquarium should be three times as long as your turtle’s shell length. You also want it to be twice as deep as your Painted Turtle’s shell length.

For example, since some Painted Turtles can grow up to ten inches long, a 30-gallon tank will be needed.

However, it’s always better to go bigger so that your turtle can have ample room to roam, swim, and stretch its legs. It’s their home, so you want them to be as comfortable as possible. 

Having a 40-gallon or even a 50-gallon tank would be better.

In addition, if you want more than one Painted Turtle and they’re sharing an aquarium, then you’ll want to make sure that they both have enough room. You won’t want them to be living on top of one another because they don’t have the space.

So, you’ll need a tank size that’s at least 60 gallons or higher. But, if you want to be on the safe side, then having a tank that’s 100 gallons will be ideal.

How Long Do Painted Turtles Live?

Painted Turtles have an average lifespan of about 20 to 30 years. However, in captivity, they can be known to live for as long as 50 years.

As long as they get proper care and have the room to grow within their aquarium, you can be sure you’ll have your Painted Turtle for a long time.


So, how big can a Painted Turtle get? Painted Turtles are one of the smaller species of turtles. So, they’ll make a great pet because you’ll be able to keep them indoors in a large aquarium.

As long as you give them proper care through dieting, lighting, and exercise, then your Painted Turtle will grow and develop well, thus thriving and lengthening their lifespan.

Learn more about turtles here or click here to learn what painted turtles can eat or here for what painted turtles need to survive.

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