Anura (frogs and toads)
Ranidae (riparian frogs and true frogs)
HABITAT AND RANGE
Wood turtles can be found throughout the northeast US, as far north as Nova Scotia, south to Virginia and west to Michigan. They prefer open woodlands, meadows and floodplains that border gravel-bottomed rivers. They must have access to streams and lakes.
Wood turtles are typically 5-9 inches long. The carapace 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 and orange beneath. The limbs are heavily scaled and the tail is long.
Wood turtles (like most other turtles) are omnivorous catching small fish, snails, frogs and tadpoles as well as berries, fruits, mushrooms, leaves and aquatic plants.
REPRODUCTION AND LIFESPAN
Mating season takes place shortly after the turtles emerge from hibernation in the spring. A clutch of typically 5-8 eggs is deposited May through June which hatch September through October. The eggs are laid in a nest which is dug by the female to depths of up to 5 inches. Females go through considerable effort to disguise and cover up the nest but most eggs rarely hatch due to extensive egg predation by skunks and raccoons. Sex is not determined by incubation temperature-which is most often the case for turtles. Sexual maturity is reached at about 17 years and lifespan can exceed 58 years.
Wood turtles hibernate throughout the winter months usually in streams deep enough so that the water will not freeze. Terrestrial hibernation does occur but it seems to be the exception. Wood turtles are uncharacteristically intelligent for turtles. In some laboratory settings they were able to learn and navigate mazes as quickly as rats. Wood turtles seem to posses a strong homing sense and have been know to find their way back to their home territories after being displaced over a mile away.