State Symbol: State Reptile— Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

The painted turle is so-named because of its bright yellow, red, and orange markings on the head, margin of the shell, and underside. It is widespread and common throughout Illinois in the quiet, weedy areas of marshes, ponds, lakes, and backwaters of rivers.

Groups of painted turtles are often seen sunning on logs and banks. The female lays 2-3 clutches of 8-9 soft-shelled eggs from May to July. Hatchlings usually overwinter in the nest. Painted turtles feed on dead fish, insects, mollusks, and plants.

The voting for favorite state reptile was done on the Internet. Other candidates were the Eastern Box Turtle and the Common Garter Snake. The legislature voted in the legislation in July, 2005.