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Wood Turtle Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Glyptemys insculpta
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    Wood turtles are found in North America.

  • Status

    The wood turtle is considered vulnerable.

  • Habitat

    Per its name, this species spends the majority of its time in the shadow of trees. But as a semi-aquatic creature, the wood turtle is reliant on streams, ponds and rivers. When the sun shines, these turtles can be found basking on logs.

  • Niche

    Omnivorous creatures, wood turtles eat plants, animals, insects and carrion. Their eggs fall prey to forest foragers.

  • Life History

    As many as 18 soft eggs are deposited in exposed, sandy riverbanks. After six weeks of incubation, offspring emerge and dive in. These are slow-developing creatures. Sexual maturity comes at about 20 years. Wood turtles are primarily solitary. When forced to share a space, these turtles create a hierarchy system.

  • Special Adaptations

    • Among turtles, this species is considered intelligent. Wood turtles are adept at escape and climbing. In one study using mazes, a scientist determined that wood turtles have the learning capacity of rats.
    • Wood turtles are crafty hunters. They will stomp the ground (with feet or shell), which creates vibrations that prompts works to wiggle to the surface, where they're gobbled up.


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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

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