The painted turtle was designated the official state reptile of Michigan in 1995, after a group of Niles fifth-graders discovered that Michigan did not have a state reptile. The painted turtle is the only turtle still commonly found in Michigan (of the nine or ten native species that live in the state).
The other turtles native to Michigan are Blanding's turtle, snapping turtle, musk turtle, spotted turtle, wood turtle, eastern box turtle, common map turtle, and eastern spiny softshell turtle. The red-eared slider turtle may or may not be native (some scientists believe it was introduced in the 1950's when thousands were imported for the pet turtle trade. The species might also be part native and part introduced).
The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) has distinctive yellow and red markings on its head, limbs, and shell. Found throughout Michigan, painted turtles range in length from four to ten inches.