Spotted Turtle

Clemmys guttata

Identification Photo by Steve Parren.

Spotted Turtles have a moderately domed carapace (shell covering the back) that is oval and smooth over the top and all the way around. The carapace is black with yellow spots. The plastron (shell covering the belly) is yellow or orange with black on the outer edges of the scutes. They are relatively small, measuring only 4-5 inches in carapace length. Their skin is also dark with yellow spots.

Get more detailed identification and life history information by downloading the chart here.

You can learn more about this species and see some video footage by checking out this clip from our Rattlers, Peepers & Snappers DVD. Find answers to some frequently asked questions about turtle nesting, what to do if a turtle nests on your property, and how to protect turtle nests at this link.

Records in Vermont of Clemmys guttata (Spotted Turtle)

[ click image to zoom | download printable PDF ]

Spotted Turtles are found both on land and in water as they travel within a mosaic of wetlands and uplands. The distribution of this species is scattered and, while extremely rare, populations of this species might be found anywhere in the state. The range map is reduced to county-level to protect the species from poaching.


This species has a state natural heritage rank of S1 (very rare). The Spotted Turtle has been designated a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (high priority) in Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan, and is endangered in the state. Please report all sightings of this species in Vermont. Take photos if possible. Even historic sighting information is useful.

Additional Photos


More Info

  • Clemmys guttata at Animal Diversity website
  • Clemmys guttata at Canadian Herpetological Society website
  • Clemmys guttata in the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Action Plan: Amphibian & Reptiles (9/25/2015 draft)
  • Clemmys guttata Department of Defense PARC Species profile video series

Species summary written by Ariel K. McK. Burgess.