Habitat & Range
The wood turtle can be found in New England, Michigan, Minnesota and parts of Nova Scotia. It prefers slow moving streams with sandy bottoms and heavily vegetated banks during the winter and open areas such as forests, fields, meadows and bogs during the spring and summer.
Wood turtles are typically 5 to 9 inches in length. The shell is brown or dull grey, while the plastron is unhinged and has dark, oblong blotches on the outer part of each plate. The legs and head are brown on top, orange underneath and heavily scaled.
Like most other turtles, wood turtles are omnivorous, catching small fish, snails, frogs and tadpoles as well as berries, fruits, mushrooms, leaves and aquatic plants.
Reproduction & Lifespan
Mating season takes place in the spring, shortly after wood turtles emerge from hibernation. A clutch of 5 to 8 eggs hatches sometime in September or October. Unlike most turtles, sex is not determined by incubation temperature.
The lifespan of a wood turtle is 40 years in the wild and can exceed 60 years in captivity.
Fantastic Fact Built-in GPS Tracking
Wood turtles are highly intelligent and have unique homing capabilities. Experiments have shown that their ability to locate food in a maze is similar to that of a rat. They have also been shown to navigate back to a location after being displaced 1.5 miles away.
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