Red-Bellied Turtle vs. Painted Turtle

Red Bellied Turtle vs. Painted Turtle: Comparison

Life under the water is filled with extraordinary marvels of nature. The diverse realm of the turtles is one of them. Some species have striking resemblance but also have various distinct features and characteristics that set them apart. The same is the case for two remarkable turtle species that capture the attention of various admirers. So, we will delve into the  characteristics of the red bellied turtle vs painted turtle.

Red bellied turtles and painted turtles belong to the same scientific family, Emydidae. But they are classified in two different genera under this family; Pseudemys (Red-bellied turtle) and Chrysemys (Painted turtle). Red-bellied turtle has dark brown carapace(upper shell) and red plastron (lower shell). On the other hand, the painted turtle has dark colored carapace with yellow to red colored markings, like a painting. 

Both are often mistaken for each other due to their resembling appearances. However, the two of them display significant distinctions in their characteristics, habits, and behaviors. In this article, we will discover the characteristics  that define the difference between both of these tiny, fascinating creatures.

Comparison Table: Red-bellied turtle vs painted turtle

Here is a comparison table that provides a simplified summary of the differences between the red-bellied turtle and the painted turtle.

CharacteristicsRed Bellied Turtle Painted Turtle
HabitatLarge fast-moving fresh water bodies: lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, etcVariety of slow-moving fresh water bodies: rivers, streams, marshes, etc
Size10 – 12 Inches8 – 11 Inches
AppearanceDark brown to black colored carapace and red to orange colored plastron. Their skin has yellow stripesBlack colored carapace with yellow and red patches. The plastron is of greenish-yellow color. 
Shell ShapeHighly domed shapeFlatter Shape compared to the red bellied turtle
Life Span40 – 55 Years20 – 30 Years
DistributionFound in the water bodies of US, Florida, Massachusetts, Potomac River, and Virginia Found in North America, Mexico, and Canada
BehaviorsBask in the sun, do not appreciate human presence, hide in water when threatenedBask in the sun, they are not scared of human presence, 
DietOmnivorous: Sea plants, tadpoles, insects, etcOmnivorous: weed, algae, tadpoles, insects, etc
Mating SeasonSpring SeasonSpring Season
Hatching Time2 Months2 Months
PredatorsRaccoons, Bullfrogs, SkunksOtters, Birds, Foxes

Red Bellied Turtle vs Painted Turtle: The key differences 

Red bellied and painted turtles often confuse everyone because of their startling resemblance. These pond turtles are very fascinating for turtle lovers. In this section, we will elaborate on the features and distinctions of both species. This will help you decide which species you want to keep as a pet.

Red Bellied Turtle

Red Bellied Turtle

1. Appearance & Characteristics: Red Bellied Turtle Vs Painted Turtle

In Red bellied turtles (Pseudemys Rubriventris), females are larger than males. The males grow to the size of 10 to 12 inches and the females grow to the size of 11 to 13.5 inches. The shell of the red bellied turtle is dark black and has red to yellow colored bands running from back to front.

Red bellied turtles also exhibit sexual dimorphism with respect to their plastrons. The plastron (belly shell) has a color that contrasts with the upper shell. Male red-bellied turtles have pink-colored plastrons, while females have red-colored plastrons. 

The appearance of the painted turtle (Chrysemys Picta) has intricate designs. These turtles have distinct yellow-colored streakings around their eyes. Male painted turtles grow to the size of 8 inches while females grow to the length of 12 inches. 

They have dark-colored upper shells and bright-colored bottom shells. The carapace of painted turtles has a dark green color with graceful designs of red color. The plastron of these turtles has greenish-yellow color with beautiful markings. 

2. Shape of The Shell: Red Bellied Turtle Vs Painted Turtle

The shell shape of red bellied turtles can also help in distinguishing them from the painted turtles. Red bellied turtles have very dome-shaped shells. This shape gives them more space and extra protection. 

The shell shape of painted turtles is flatter. It is less domed and has a more keeled shape. Their shells give a streamlined shape and the ability to move a little faster.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

3. Lifespan: Red Bellied Turtle Vs Painted Turtle

Red bellied turtles are long-lived. They have the blessing of longevity and can live a minimum of 40 years and a maximum of 70 years. They can be your tiny partner for many years. Thus, if someone wants to pet a turtle with a longer life expectancy, a red bellied turtle is the best choice.

On the other hand, the painted turtles have a comparatively shorter lifespan. They live for 20 to 30 years. This turtle can be an ideal choice for those who do not want to commit to a pet for a long time.

4. Nature & Behaviors: Red Bellied Turtle Vs Painted Turtle

Both the turtles have distinct and contrasting personalities. Their unique behaviors differentiate them from each other. 

Red bellied turtles are shy. They do not like to interact with humans as they feel threatened. They spend their day basking in the sun for long hours. Red bellied turtles have an active fight or flight system. They rapidly wide themselves under the sand if they feel threatened. 

The painted turtles are friendly. They can easily adapt to new environments and habitats. They interact with humans without feeling threatened. Painted turtles also like to bask in the sun. They have an adaptation that allows them to survive even in low-oxygen. Due to this, they can easily adapt with any environment. 

5. Diet: Red Bellied Turtle Vs Painted Turtle

The diet of red bellied turtles and painted turtles is almost the same. Both are omnivorous reptiles and feed on mixed diets. They savor plant matter as well as the  meat of worms, tadpoles, insects, crustaceans, and small molluscs. They also eat small fish and amphibians. 

They require a healthy and balanced diet for their proper growth. They can get sick if they do not get the right amount of vitamins. Therefore, the diet of a turtle should be properly crafted by the owner. 

Read also: Cumberland slider vs yellow bellied slider:Which Slider Reigns Supreme?

Can Red Eared Sliders and Painted Turtles Live Together?

Red eared sliders and painted turtles are two different turtle species. They have similarities in various physical attributes and lifestyles. They can only be differentiated from their shell shape and marking behind the eyes. 

The turtle enthusiasts often want to keep both of the species as their pet. However, before petting it is important to figure out whether they are compatible together or not. 

Red eared sliders and painted turtles can live together. They can be good companions of each other in the tank as they have similar needs and wants. They can consume a similar diet consisting of plant and meat content. 

They live together peacefully. They require the same conditions in the tank, therefore, they can survive together in a tank. 

The red-eared sliders and painted turtles have to be of the same size to survive peacefully together. The compatible size will ensure that there is no aggression. The difference in size can cause aggression and dominance among individuals.

Can Painted Turtles Mate With Red Eared Sliders?

When two different species mate, it is called hybridization. It is not a natural process. The individuals of one species can only successfully breed among themselves to produce fertile offspring. When interspecies mating occurs, the offspring are always sterile.

Red-eared sliders and painted turtles are compatible for mating with each other because they belong to the same scientific family. For mating, both turtles have to be of compatible size. 

They can produce a hybrid together. However, it is essential to understand that a hybrid offspring of red-eared sliders and painted turtles will be infertile and unstable. 

Thus, the mating of painted turtles and red-eared sliders is possible but not appreciated. The produced offspring will always be sterile. 


1. Do Red-Bellied Turtles Take Care of Their Offsprings?

No, red-bellied turtles are reptiles. They do not look after their offspring. The female turtle only lays eggs in the sand. The eggs incubate naturally in the sand and hatching occurs in almost 80 days.

2.Are Red Bellied Turtles and Painted Turtles Polygamous?

Yes, these turtles are polygamous in nature. They mate with more than one partner in every breeding season. They do not stay with one female partner for their entire life. 

3.Which Turtle Species is More Popular Among the Red Bellied Turtles and Painted Turtles?

Red-bellied turtles have remarkable popularity among turtle lovers. It is because of their fascinating shell designs and colors. The long life expectancy of red-bellied turtles also makes them the best turtles to keep as pets. 

 4.What is the Conservatory Status of Red-Bellied Turtles and Painted Turtles?

The conservatory status of any species specifies whether the species is going to be extinct or not. Red-bellied turtles and painted turtles are ranked as Least Concerned in the Red List of Endangered Species by IUCN. 

5.Can Red Bellied Turtles mate with the Painted Turtles?

The mating of two different species is an unnatural phenomenon. Hybridization can happen in nature but the outcomes are never favorable. Mating of red-bellied and painted turtles can occur but the offspring will be sterile. 


Red-bellied and painted turtles are freshwater turtles. Their shells and physical appearance is often similar. Therefore, “Red-Bellied Turtle Vs Painted Turtle” is a hot debate among turtle lovers. In this article, we elaborated on the differences and similarities between the red-bellied turtle and the painted turtle. 

The nature of the red-bellied turtle and the painted turtle are contrasting. Red-bellied turtles are not friendly but the painted turtles love to socialize. The red-bellied turtles are long-lived while the painted turtles have an average lifespan. Both the turtles have the same diet and requirements. Therefore, they are also compatible with living together.