Spotted turtle

Underwater Diner - The Spotted Turtle

Spotted turtleThe Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) is a small freshwater turtle measuring about 9 to 12.7 cm (3.5 to 5.0 inches) in length and weighing about 8 to 12 ounces (226 to 340 grams). Found mainly along the east coast of the United States, from southern Maine to northern Florida, as well as the Midwest and southern parts of Canada near the Great Lakes, the Spotted Turtle prefers to live in ponds, ditches, swamps and marshes. The Spotted Turtle's shell varies in color from black to bluish black, accented with yellow spots that extend to the legs, neck and head. The Spotted Turtle does not reach maturity until 8 to 10 years of age and the life expectancy of a typical Spotted Turtle is about 25 years.


What makes the Spotted Turtle so fascinating is its eating habits. The Spotted Turtle is an omnivore and will eat a wide variety of foods, from algae and other aquatic vegetation to salamanders, fish, slugs, worms and other small insects. However, the Spotted Turtle will consume its food exclusively in the water. Even if it finds food on land, the Spotted Turtle will return to the water to consume it.


The breeding period for the Spotted Turtle begins in March and ends in May. The female turtles will begin searching for nesting areas at the end of March. Once a proper nesting spot is found, the females will lay only about three to four eggs each. The eggs hatch in about 10 to 12 weeks and the 1-inch (2 cm) hatchlings begin their search for wet, marshy areas to secure food and shelter. Predators of the Spotted Turtle include raccoons, muskrats, skunks, otters, bears and eagles. The eggs of the Spotted Turtle are also at risk of being consumed or destroyed by foxes, skunks, raccoons and ants.


However, due to pollution and destruction of natural habitats, the population of wild Spotted Turtles is in decline. The collection of Spotted Turtles for pets has also added to the decrease in population. The Spotted Turtle is listed as an endangered species in Illinois and Ohio, a threatened species in Vermont and Maine, a species of special concern in Indiana and West Virginia, and a protected species in Massachusetts. In Canada, the Spotted Turtle is also listed as endangered and the International Union for Conservation of Nature considers the Spotted Turtle as a species vulnerable to extinction.

The Spotted turtle is classified as Vulnerable (VU), considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Common names

Baot vrizhellek in Breton - brezhoneg
Clemmys guttata in French - français
Druppelschildpad in Dutch - Nederlands
spotted turtle in English - English
tortue ponctuée in French - français
Черепаха пятнистая in Russian - русский язык

Picture of Clemmys guttata has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.
Original source: Animal Diversity Web
Author: James Dowling-Healey
Permission: Some rights reserved
Order : Testudines
Family : Emydidae
Genus : Clemmys
Species : Clemmys guttata
Authority : SCHNEIDER 1792
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