Year of the Turtle
Northeast Region

Turtles of the Month - Student Corner


Diamondback terrapin. Credit: USFWS



Spotted turtle


Painted turtle


Red-eared Slider


Wood turtle. Credit: Linh Phu


Eastern Musk turtle


2011 Year of the turtle graphic

Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)

Spotted turtle. Credit: Alison Whitlock
Spotted turtle

Description: Shells are black with small yellow spots and adults reach 4 – 5“ in length. Males have black or tan chins and yellow eyes, while females have yellow chins and orange eyes. Skin on the head, limbs and tails is gray-black and also patterned with yellow spots.

Habitat: Found in marshy meadows, swamps, bogs, small ponds, ditches and shallow bodies of water. Occurs in the northern tier of states from Michigan to Maine and down the eastern seaboard to Florida.

Diet: Feeds on aquatic invertebrates, plants, amphibian eggs and carrion.

Status: Protected by the states of Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. Considered to be rare in West Virginia and is a species of special concern in New York.

Threats: Include: habitat fragmentation, which is particularly harmful to the spotted turtle due to its nomadic behavior; poaching for illegal pet trade; road mortality.

To learn more, visit
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Turtle Conservation Project
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

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Last updated: September 7, 2011