What Eats Painted Turtles? [Full Guide]

What Eats Painted Turtles?

Painted Turtles are well-known predators in the wild to smaller animals. However, Painted Turtles themselves can be prey as well. Some bigger animals in the wild can feed upon Painted Turtles. In this article, we’ll share a brief overview of the Painted Turtle and share if they’re endangered or not. Moreover, we’ll share what eats painted turtles.

What Eats Painted Turtles?
Painted Turtle

Finally, we’ll share a list of animals that prey upon Painted Turtles and even if humans can eat Painted Turtles. We’ll also talk about some ways Painted Turtles protect themselves when being preyed upon. 

What Are Painted Turtles?

Painted Turtles are one of the many types of turtles. There are 300 known types of turtles, and Painted Turtles have four subspecies. So, they make up quite a bit of the aquatic turtle population.

This particular turtle is well-spotted by its black, oval shells with yellow or red lines on its tail, legs, neck, and face. Since they’re an aquatic turtle and reside in ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams, they also have webbed feet to help them swim.

They might look intimidating, but this type of turtle is quite friendly.

For instance, Painted Turtles are social creatures that enjoy the company of other Painted Turtles. They can grow to be between three and ten inches, with females usually being bigger than males.

Also, they have an average lifespan of about 20 to 30 years. However, some Painted Turtles have been known to live about 50 years. 

In addition, Painted Turtles have a varied diet. As babies, they’re carnivores, but when they become adults, they also become omnivores. In fact, this turtle is a well-known predator to small fish, frogs, insects, and more. There’s a lot to love about the Painted Turtle, whether you spot them in the wild or you decide to have one as a pet.

Are Painted Turtles Endangered?

There are four subspecies of Painted Turtles: Western, Southern, Midland, and Eastern. Out of these four Painted Turtles, none of them are considered to be endangered.

Painted Turtles are native to North America. However, they can be found all over the country and even in Canada.

However, depending on Global Warming, it’s believed that this turtle species could be listed as endangered within the next couple of years. If the temperatures drastically change, then it’ll be harder for them to survive in the wild.

At this moment, though, Painted Turtles are safe and thriving in the wild.

Watch this video: What Eats Painted Turtles?

What Eats Painted Turtles?

Even though Painted Turtles are well-known predators in the wild, they can only chase and eat things that they’re able to catch and that are small enough to fit inside their mouths.

For instance, they’ll eat small fish, frogs, insects, worms, aquatic crustaceans, and more.

However, there are plenty of bigger things in the wild that will munch on a Painted Turtle. So, what eats a Painted Turtle?

For example, some predators of Painted Turtles are:

  • Raccoons
  • Red Foxes
  • Northern River Otters
  • American Minks

These Painted Turtle predators are all medium in size, thus being much bigger than a Painted Turtle. However, despite their hard shell, these animals will chase down a Painted Turtle if they spot one.

Luckily, Painted Turtles are fast. In fact, their speed is what helps them catch their prey. They will chase after prey that’s much slower than them, allowing them to catch their food easily.

How Can Painted Turtles Protect Themselves From Predators?

Painted Turtles have a couple of advantages over their predators. For one, Painted Turtles are fast.

Thanks to their webbed feet, they’re much faster in the water than they are on the land. So, if an animal, such as a river otter, is chasing them, the Painted Turtle has a good chance to out-swim the otter and get away.

Also, if the Painted Turtle is basking on a log and an alligator attacks, the turtle will be able to dive back into the water and swim away from its predator.

In addition to swimming fast, Painted Turtles have a strong, sturdy shell to protect them. However, they’re slower on land, and while they could still get away, their best bet is to hide in their shell.

Painted Turtles can completely close up inside their shell without any limbs, tails, or heads sticking out. Therefore, if a predator, such as a raccoon finds the turtle, they won’t be able to bite their way through the turtle’s shell.

Can You Eat Painted Turtles?

Believe it or not, but yes. You can eat Painted Turtles. Everything about the Painted Turtle is edible except the lungs, gall bladder, skeleton, skull, and nails. In addition, the skin might be tough, so you might want to remove the skin before eating.


Many different animals are a predator to Painted Turtles. As long as they’re bigger than the turtle and faster, they can easily catch this turtle (especially on land).

Luckily, Painted Turtles are fast in the water and have their strong shell to protect them if needed. So, they can get away from predators in the wild.

Find out more here about how other turtles can also eat Painted Turtles.

Want to know what painted turtles eat? Read our full guide here. You can also learn more about turtles here.

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