Painted turtles eat carrion small fish, freshwater crustaceans, aquatic insects, plant leaves and algae. The hatchlings are largely carnivorous and add more plants to their diets as they mature.
Painted turtles are common through much of North America. In some parts of the country where they aren't found naturally and have been introduced by pet releases, they are considered an invasive species. Their dietary habits vary depending on the subspecies, the age of the turtle and the season. They are popular as pets but are considered less suitable for children than red-eared sliders, as they don't enjoy being handled. In captivity, painted turtles can be fed a mix of commercial water turtle pellets, corn, greens, earthworms and feeder fish.