Wood Turtle

Glyptemys insculpta

Identification Photo by Renee Traverse. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.)

The Wood Turtle has a moderately domed shell. Each scute is covered by a pyramidal stack of older and smaller scutes that form clear concentric rings. The brown or gray carapace (shell covering the back) has a weakly toothed posterior margin (back edge). The plastron (shell covering the belly) is wide and yellow with black on the outer edges of the scutes. Wood Turtles have black heads and their legs and neck are yellow, orange, or red. The carapace length of the adults ranges from 6-10 inches.

Records in Vermont of Glyptemys insculpta (Wood Turtle)

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Range/Habitat

Wood Turtles are primarily river turtles that prefer streams with a moderate slope and speed. They feed in uplands and fields that are adjacent to the streams. They will venture some distance from the stream (sometimes 1000 feet or more) but they rely on the stream for refuge and overwintering.

Status

This species has a state natural heritage rank of S3 (uncommon, localized). Illegal collection has been a problem. The Wood Turtle has been designated a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (high priority) in Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan, and is a species of special concern in Vermont. Please report all sightings of this species in Vermont. Take photos if possible. Even historic sighting information is useful.

Additional Photos

Photo by K. Wright. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.)  Photo by Dan Zeh. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.) Photo by Shannon Kane. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.) Photo by M. Kolan. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.) Photo by Toni Mikula. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.) Photo by Doris Potter. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.) Photo by Drew Price. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.) Photo by Donald Campbell. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.) Photo by Kiley Briggs. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.)

 

More Info

Glyptemys insculpta used to be called Clemmys insculpta.

Species summary written by Ariel K. McK. Burgess.