An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Wood Turtles — Aquatic & Terrestrial, Depending on the Season

8-6-13 wood turtle2 046The Wood Turtle’s (Glyptemys insculpta) common name comes from the resemblance of each segment of its top shell, or carapace, to the cross-section of a tree complete with radiating growth rings. Unlike other turtles that favor either land or water, wood turtles reside in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. They require streams and rivers for spring mating, feeding and winter hibernation, but also require terrestrial habitats for summer egg-laying and foraging. In slow moving streams and rivers (see photo insert) they feed on fish and insects. On land, usually within 300 yards of a stream, they forage for snails, slugs, berries and mushrooms. Wood Turtles are known for stomping their feet on the ground in order to presumably mimic the vibrations of rain. Earthworms then come to the surface, and the turtle snaps them up.

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2 responses

  1. Cindy

    I am currently reading David Carroll’s “A Swampwalker’s Journal”. It’s an amazing book explaining the importance of these critical ecosystems. Humans tend not to like these area as they are wet and buggy. He says a person with a backhoe in five minutes can sometimes undo a habitat centuries in the making. Destroying all it many inhabitants – and the many animals who do not live there, but come to feed and drink. Carroll’s enthusiasm for the little slimy things is happily infectious.

    August 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

    • Yes, that’s a wonderful book, isn’t it? He’s amazing!

      August 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

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