Wood Turtle

All of North America's four kinds of pond turtle spend some time on land. Although the Wood Turtle winters in a sheltered spot under water, at other times of year it may wander through woodlands, meadows, and plowed fields. Most wood turtle eggs never hatch; nest predation by raccoons, skunks, shrews, foxes, and other predators can typically result in high losses, sometimes approaching the entire year's reproductive effort for a turtle population when predator numbers are high.

Wood Turtles hibernate in winter (October through April in northern Michigan), generally on the bottom in the shallows of streams and rivers where the water will not freeze. Clemmys insculpta is an omnivorous species that can feed both in or out of water. Natural foods include leaves and flowers, fruits (berries), fungi, slugs, snails, worms, and insects. They will consume young mice or eggs, or scavenge dead animals.

Conservation Status: Wood Turtles were once harvested extensively for human food (in the east) and for the biological supply trade (especially in the western Great Lakes area), and in the last few decades they have been mercilessly exploited for the pet trade range-wide. IUCN Red List: Vulnerable. US Federal List: No special status.

Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta)

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