Western Pacific Pond Turtle



DIETAquatic plants, dragonflies, beetles, caddisflies, frogs, and frog eggs

RANGESouthern Washington to Central California

HABITATStreams, lakes, ponds, marshes, and reservoirs

Western Pacific Pond Turtle

Physical Description

The western pacific pond turtle grows to be 4-6 inches long and will have a light to dark brown or olive carapace with lighter marbling patterns. They have webbed feet for swimming and long claws for digging in the mud.


Invasive species like bullfrogs and largemouth bass prey on hatchlings.


In the wild, their average lifespan is 50 years, but in human care, they have been known to live 40-80 years.


During the breeding season from May through August, males will court females by scratching the edge of the female’s carapace. Females will lay 3-12 eggs in June in a nest she digs on land. Hatching will occur in August to September.

Fun Facts

  • Some organizations have been using “head start” programs to help wild hatchlings grow large enough to escape invasive predators before they are released into the wild. This has been helping increase wild populations which are declining.
  • The western pacific pond turtle is the only native species of aquatic turtle in California.

Conservation Messaging

In our Reptile and Amphibian (RAD) center you will find many different reptiles and amphibians including venomous and poisonous species of snakes and frogs. Many of these animals fall victim to habitat loss in the wild. Many of the species here are found in South American habitats which are subjected to deforestation, damming of rivers, water pollution, and poor agricultural and management practices.

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