Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)


Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)

Identification: Carapace smooth, black, covered with scattered round yellow spots. Plastron without a hinge. Head black with yellow or orange spots and blotches. Lower jaw of male is brown or black; the female’s is yellow or orange.

Adult carapace length: 3.5 to 5 inches (9 to 12.7 cm).

Habitat: Bogs or boggy ponds, fens, sphagnum seepages, and grassy marshes. Prefer shallow, clean water with mud bottom, clumps of sedge or marsh grass.

Habits: A cold tolerant species that becomes active and mates early in spring; often inactive or dormant in hot weather. Begins to decrease activity when water temperatures cool to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Enters hibernation in muskrat burrows or loafs through the winter on the bottom of pools with flowing water. Has the ability to breathe through the skin when under water. Gill-like tissues filter oxygen from the water directly into blood.  Eats small animals (e.g., insects, worms, snails, slugs, crayfish, etc.), plants, and fruit.

Reproduction: In June, female lays 2 to 7 oval, soft shelled eggs in a sunny location within a cavity dug in soil or plant debris. Incubation takes 45 to 83 days, but hatchlings may not emerge until the following spring. Hatchlings usually have one spot in each carapace scute but are occasionally spotless.

SOURCE: Michigan DNR


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