Reptiles/co habitation


QUESTION: Hi, I have two turtles that were given to me about a month ago, and they are different species, one being a r.e.s and the other a painted, my painted was very sadly taken out of the wild as a baby and they are same size and only small, they have lived together for two years now they are about the size of my palm and im fairly new to turtles, i need to know all you know about the living arrangement and all and if they will end up mating they seem to be very interested in each other and the painted is male and seems to HAVE to have his nose in her bottom all the time , im not sure what this means or what to do or expect... i know a fair bit about thr r.e.s but not much about the painted ... and the fact that one is female (the r.e.s) and the other a male im concerned ,... please help>>> thanks Melyni

ANSWER: These two species won't interbreed, to the best of my knowledge... besides, they're much too small to breed.  Be alert for signs of aggression - biting at tails or legs.  If you see this, they must be separated. (Typically, it's not a good idea to house different species together).

Actual courting involves a male flashing his long claws in the face of the female, and nipping at her.

This is the best aquatic turtle information site on the web that I am aware of:

This site should have full information on proper housing, lighting and heating, and diet.  Caring for aquatic turtles can be time- and labor-intensive.  They are not low-maintenance pets, and the equipment needed to keep them healthy can be expensive.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: i would have never housed the two together my self but the people who had them before me stole the baby painted from the wild for a companion for the r.e.s. stupid stupid stupid thing to do. I dont agree with this at all.  bot why would my painted male have his face in her bottom all the time?? And how old are they?

Yes, particularly since wild reptiles usually harbor parasites.  It wouldn't be a good idea to get them a checkup, when you get the chance, and have a fecal exam done.  

Your turtle may just be a bit curious about his companion, since she's not the same species.  Perhaps she smells strange to him, lol.  It's not abnormal behavior, but if you see any nipping, they should be separated.  If he starts pestering her, or trying to court her, it's time to separate them.

Age is hard to determine, because all I have to go on is size.  It depends a great deal on how well they were cared for before you got them, and how nutritious their diet was.  On an excellent diet, with appropriate care, they could be between one and three years old.  If their care wasn't as good, they could be older.  

The male painted turtle is probably sexually mature, but the female RES won't be until she's at least 6 to 8 inches long.


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Donna Fernstrom


My particular focus is on snakes and lizards, but I have a decent smattering of knowledge of turtles and crocodilians as well, plus the experience to get relevant information quickly if I don't have it on hand in my brain. I can answer questions on captive care, diet, breeding, incubation of eggs, starting hatchlings, and more. I am particularly experienced with ball pythons, Lygodactylus geckos and other small lizards with similar care requirements, leopard geckos, and garter snakes.


I am a professional breeder of ball python morphs, Lygodactylus (dwarf) geckos, and mourning geckos. I have begun working with Irian Jaya carpet pythons, and plan to expand to include more gecko species in the future. I also have a background breeding leopard geckos, and have kept several other species of small lizards, snakes, and a water turtle.

Nebraska Herpetological Society (

I have many care sheets published on my own website.

High School Graduate. Extensively self-taught due to high interest in wildlife and reptile care.

Awards and Honors
Fauna Classifieds board of inquiry Good Guy Certification

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