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Patient Update: Western Painted Turtle

Updated: Jan 19



A beautiful Western Painted Turtle was brought into Calgary Wildlife after being kept in captive care as a pet for ten years. He was diagnosed with pneumonia on a trip to the veterinarian, where the owner was alerted by the vets that unfortunately these turtles are not meant to be kept as pets, and thus our team was contacted.

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Luckily he quickly overcame his pneumonia and was medically cleared after being partially dry-docked for a week. After that, he could have a whole pool to swim in all day freely.


Did You Know?

  • Painted turtles prefer slow-moving, shallow bodies of water.

  • They use touch to communicate, particularly during mating.

  • Western-painted turtles do not have teeth; they have horny ridges that are sharp and serrated on their upper and lower jaws.

  • A painted turtle's sex is determined based on the outside temperature while they are in the egg, not genetics.

  • You can tell the age of a painted turtle by counting the rings on its shells, just like a tree!


Western painted turtles are listed as an endangered species in Canada; they rely on wetlands for food and reproduction. Their habitat is quickly diminishing, as we can see by the severe displacement displayed here.

In the province of Alberta, it is illegal to keep native Western Painted Turtles as pets.



Since this Western Painted Turtle was in captive care for such an extended period, and his original home location is unknown, the Calgary Wildlife team had the task of finding another site for him to live out the rest of his swimming days, since this species of turtle can live up to a whopping 50 years old. The Edmonton Valley Zoo was kind enough to offer a permanent placement under their care. Our wildlife team is awaiting the news that his enclosure has been completed so we can begin our transfer.


Please keep your eyes peeled for updates on this unique patient

and his big move to the Edmonton Valley Zoo!




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