Species: Clemmys insculpta
HABITAT AND RANGE:
The Wood Turtle likes cool streams in
deciduous woodlands, red maple swamps,
marshy meadows, farm country and bogs.
They like to swim, but are quite at home
on land. This classifies them as a
“semi-terrestrial” turtle. They live
from Nova Scotia to Virginia and west to
the Great Lakes region to eastern
Minnesota and northeast Iowa.
The carapace of the Wood Turtle is
formed by concentric growth ridges. Each
large carapace scute looks like an
irregular pyramid. Its upper shell is
dark, sometimes with black and yellow
markings. Scutes of the plastron are
yellow with black blotches usually along
the outer margins. It is hingeless
(compared to the box turtle), so it is
unable to completely close its shell.
The skin of the neck and legs is
reddish-orange, sometimes with red dots.
The beak is notched. Males have a
thicker tail, longer claws and larger
scutes on the front legs than the
females do. The average adult size is 5
to 9 inches.
The wood turtle is an excellent climber.
After downpours, it is frequently seen
searching for earthworms in freshly
plowed fields. It often hibernates in
muskrat dens. They make good pets and
will eat from the hand.
An omnivorous turtle, they will eat
algae, fish, tadpoles, insect larvae,
mollusks, earthworms and green plants.
In captivity they will eat meat and
fruit, especially berries.
REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT:
One clutch of 6-8 (maximum 18)
cream-colored eggs is deposited in May
or June. The young hatch in September or
October, dependent upon weathering
conditions. In the northern extent of
their range, the hatchlings may
overwinter in the nest until the
STATUS IN WILD:
They were once taken for food and called
“redleg” because of their coloration on
the legs and neck. They now suffer from
over-collection and habitat destruction,
especially from draining wetlands. They
are currently protected in some U.S.