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 Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

Wood Turtle | Glyptemys insculpta photo
Wood Turtle
Photograph by United States Geological Survey,. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

Adult Wood Turtles have a brown to gray-brown carapace. The shell has a low central keel and has a rough sculptured appearance. There are sometimes yellow streaks down the centre of the carapace. The plastron is yellow with black blotches at the rear outside corner of each scute. The head is black and may have some light dots or markings. The scales on the upper legs are black to mottled brown. The skin on the throat, lower neck, and lower legs varies from yellow, orange, or orange-red to salmon-red. The western (Great Lakes) population has yellow to yellow-orange neck and legs. The eastern population has orange to reddish neck and legs.

carapace length 15cm - 25cm

The Wood Turtle spends most of its time in wooded areas. It is semi-aquatic and needs access to streams, rivers, and ponds.

The Wood Turtle is omnivorous and can feed both in or out of water. It eats leaves, flowers, fruits, fungi, slugs, snails, worms, insects. They will also eat young mice, eggs, or carrion.

The nesting season is in May or June. Wood Turtles nest in open, sunny position in sandy bank near moving water whenever possible. The female digs the nest with her hind feet, creating a hollow 5cm - 13cm deep where she lays a clutch of 3 to 18 eggs. The eggs are buried with sand and left unattended. Incubation is 47 -69 days, dependent mostly on temperature. Hatchlings emerge from in late August or September and move to water.

The Wood Turtle is found in north eastern parts from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, south to northern Virginia and west through Pennsylvania and eastern Ontario. There is also a discontinuous population around the Great Lakes in southeastern Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota, north eastern Iowa, south central Quebec and southern Ontario.

Common Name:Wood Turtle

Relatives in same Genus
  Bog Turtle (G. muhlenbergii)

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