Wood Turtle

Scientific Name Glyptemys insculpta

Native To Atlantic coast of the United States up to Nova Scotia

Habitat Forested and agricultural land with slow moving streams.

Diet Omnivorous. They are not picky eaters and will readily consume slugs, worms, tadpoles, insects, algae, wild fruits, leaves, grass, moss, and carrion.

Size and Age Average length: 15cm-23cm. Average Lifespan: 45-50 years

Natural History

The shell of a Wood Turtle often looks like a carved piece of wood, thus giving them their name. They are often found in forested and agricultural land, near slow moving water sources such as creeks or streams. During the winter months these turtles brumate underwater. Dissolved oxygen is extracted from the water, allowing them to remain submerges until spring comes around. Once the warmer weather settles in the Wood Turtle becomes more active, eventually leaving the water and beginning to forage for food.


Conservation Status

The Wood Turtle population continues to decline in the wild. These turtles do not reach sexual maturity until 17 years of age, which contributes to a slow reproduction rate. Captive breeding allows for these turtles to repopulate under human care, thus preventing them from becoming extinct. However this doesn’t solve the problem in the wild.

Interesting Facts

  1. Wood Turtles are as smart as rats
  2. Wood Turtles are great escape artists!
  3. Baby wood turtles are actually gray in color and look nothing like the adults. Their tails are normally as long as their shells and they only acquire the orange/red coloring as they age.
  4. Wood Turtles have an interesting hunting method; they stomp their feet on the ground to entice worms out of the soil.
  5. These turtles do not shed their scutes (sections of shell), and they develop a rugged, gnarled appearance as they age.  That is how they got their name