North American Wood Turtle

North American Wood Turtle


This is a North American wood turtle. Wood turtles used to be very, very common throughout Maryland and much
of the mid Atlantic region as well as throughout all of the Northeast.
But because of habitat destruction, road kills and collection for the pet
trade, these turtles have become very, very rare and are highly
protected by most States. The Wood turtle gets its name by it’s
very attractive sculptured appearance of its carapace or its upper shell looking
very much like wood and the lower side, the plastron is very attractive yellow
with these large black blotches and of course the beautiful bright red
legs, a bright orange-red leg. Sometimes people call these turtles the
red legs because of the coloration of the legs. What turtles are found
primarily in forested areas, usually where there’s some water because
they often go back to fast moving streams and rivers to hibernate and
they also mate in water as well. Don’t collect it as a pet. Enjoy it
where it is and just leave it be. Wood turtles are very, very special. They are supposed to be highly
intelligent as far as turtles go. Some of the research done with them has
shown them to be about as intelligent as a laboratory rat and in figuring
out a maze. What do they eat? A lot of berries, eat worms. Um, sometimes carrion – dead material in the
woods, mushrooms, toadstools and such. And, and they just enjoy a nice
leisurely walk through the woods, and left alone, they can live to be, close to the 80 years old
and maybe a little more.

Randy Schultz

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