An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Wood Turtle

Wood Turtles (named for the woody appearance of their shells) are primarily river and stream-dwelling reptiles. They forage for food on land near streams, where, at this time of year, they also lay their eggs. Like most turtles, female Wood Turtles seek out sandy soil in which they dig several holes (to confuse predators) and choose one in which they usually lay seven or eight eggs. Their diet consists of both plants and animals, with berries and mushrooms at the top of the list. Earthworms are also a favorite, and their method of attracting them is a sight I would like to see — they stamp their front feet alternately in order to get earthworms to surface from their underground burrows. The Wood Turtle population in New England is in decline (collecting has greatly reduced their population) and any sighting of this species should be reported to state Fish & Game as well as, in Vermont, the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas.

6 responses

  1. Wow, I’d love to see that, too!

    May 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

  2. I’ve never spotted one of these Mary, how common are they?

    May 26, 2012 at 12:11 am

    • Not very, Chris, is my understanding. They show up in most of Vermont on the reptile atlas map, but I don’t think they’re very plentiful as they’re classified S3. First one I’ve seen in many years!

      May 26, 2012 at 12:28 am

  3. Deborah Monnat-White

    A very timely post Mary- I was just driving on one of the back roads here in town that runs along a stream and stopped to move a very strikingly handsome turtle out of harms way (I hope). When I got home I compared it to your post and other online pix- the texture of its shell was quite wonderful. I now wish I had taken the time to get a pic of this (wood) turtle!

    May 28, 2012 at 12:25 am

    • Hi Deborah,
      What part of the world do you live in?

      May 28, 2012 at 12:41 am

      • Deborah Monnat-White

        Mary I’m over in Sullivan NH (Monadnock region- I very much enjoyed your visit to Harris Center in Hancock a bit ago). We have recent been hit very hard with flooding damage here in town-just a day later- on the very road where I saw this turtle- so of course I have wondered what has become of him/her…..

        June 5, 2012 at 12:50 am

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