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

Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

Wood turtle. Credit: Linh Phu
Spotted turtle

Description. Brown, sculpted shell with orange neck, limbs and underside. Head is black, sometimes with faint yellow spots. Generally 5 to 8 inches in length.

Habitat. Semi-terrestrial, spending a significant amount of time both in water and on land. Prefer streams with gravel or cobble bottoms. Terrestrial habitats include floodplains, meadows, woodlands, fields and wetlands. Found throughout New England and as far north as Nova Scotia, as far west as eastern Minnesota and as far south as northern Virginia.

Diet. Omnivorous, consists of plants, berries, mushrooms, invertebrates, carrion, slugs and earthworms.

Status. Protected as threatened by the states of New Jersey and Virginia and considered a species of special concern by the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Considered very rare in West Virginia. Not federally protected.

Threats. Include: Use of agricultural machinery in habitat; loss of habitat to development of wooded stream banks; road mortality; collection for pet trade; inflated populations of predators in suburban areas; and pollution of streams.

To learn more, visit:
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department


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Last updated: September 7, 2011