1-Red-Eared Slider turtles :
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine by : BY VIN MA
Red-eared sliders come by their common name for two reasons: the red ear patch on both sides of the head, and the fact that wild red-ears, when basking, are known to slide into the water at the slightest hint of danger.
Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans):
The red-eared slider has a long history in the pet trade, and it has been kept for many years by a wide variety of hobbyists, both beginners and veterans. For years they were sold in dime stores, and unfortunately many died due to a lack of knowledge of the children who begged their parents to buy them for them. Luckily, now that reptile enthusiasts are better educated, the red-eared slider has a better chance of survival in captivity, but it is a large turtle and should be kept only by people who are prepared to provide the proper care for it.
Red-eared sliders are strong swimmers and will spend a majority of their time in the water. They bask a lot, too, and during warm, sunny days, wild red-ears love to stack on top of each other while doing so. The slightest movement or sound will send them sliding off their rocks or logs and back into the water—this, coupled with the red ear mark on both sides of their heads, gives them their common name. Pet red-eared sliders can be very personable and will often swim up to you, begging for food.
The native habitat of the red-eared slider is from New Mexico north to Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and West Virginia, then south through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, all the way to northern Mexico. They are often found in slow-moving streams, creeks, lakes, ponds and marshes with a fresh and warm water supply.
Red-Eared Slider Availability :
The red-eared slider is one of the most common turtles found for sale in pet stores across the U.S. and overseas. In addition to finding them at local pet stores, you can purchase them at reptile shows or online. It is illegal for hatchlings with a carapace length of less than 4 inches to be sold for anything other than educational purposes.
The red-eared slider is a large turtle that should be kept only by hobbyists who will be able to provide a large enclosure or pond.
Red-Eared Slider Size :
Full grown adults can reach 12 inches in length, with females usually being the largest in size. There are rare instances of adult red-eared sliders growing larger than 12 inches.
Red-Eared Slider Life Span :
Red-eared sliders can live a long life in captivity. When cared for correctly, they can easily live longer than 20 years.
Red-Eared Slider Diet
Red-eared sliders are omnivores. In the wild, they feed on aquatic vegetation, small fish and decaying material such as dead fish and frogs, etc. Pet red-eared sliders will feed on just about anything you give them, but I recommend feeding them a commercial turtle food or pellet to benefit proper growth and health. On occasion, you can offer them leafy greens, freeze-dried shrimp or krill, crickets, superworms, rosy red minnows and even pinky mice.
Various types of red-eared slider morphs are being bred in captivity. These are all albinos of various ages and sizes.
Red-Eared Slider Housing :
Hatchling red-eared sliders are very cute, but don’t let their small size fool you. Remember, adults can grow to 12 inches. The general rule of thumb for housing red-eared sliders is for every inch of shell length, you should provide 10 gallons of water. For example, a red-eared slider with a 5-inch shell length should be provided an enclosure containing 50 gallons of water to allow for adequate swimming space.
They can be kept in aquariums, turtle tubs, etc.
Primary accessories to properly house a red-eared slider are a water filtration system, a water heater, a basking dock and a basking lamp. Because red-eared sliders are messy feeders and produce a lot of waste, I recommend purchasing a water filter that is rated at least double the amount of water in your turtle’s enclosure. This reduces the frequency of water changes that will be necessary (though don’t neglect water changes; you should still perform them regularly) and maintains the cleanliness and health of your turtles.
These are hatchling “snow” red-eared sliders.
Use a submersible water heater to maintain the ideal water temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Turtles can be rough, so use a water heater guard to protect the heater from breaking; they are available in pet stores or online. Be sure to maintain the recommended temperatures, both in the water and the ambient temperatures mentioned below. If the temperatures are too cold, your turtle’s metabolism will reduce, which can be a threat to its health. Keep tanks and tubs away from areas with cool breezes or drafts, too, as constant fluctuation of temperatures due to these can cause respiratory infections.
Pastel red-eared slider hatchlings.
To ensure proper health and growth of red-eared sliders, a basking light that provides UVB and UVA rays, to mimic the sun, is required. Purchase either a commercial turtle basking dock or create your own basking platform onto which your turtle can emerge from the water to soak up the artificial sunlight and dry off. Temperatures in the basking area should remain between 85 and 90 degrees.
Red-Eared Slider Handling and Temperament:
Captive-born-and-raised red-eared sliders are more personable compared to wild red-eared sliders, which tend to be more cautious and frightened when approached by humans. At the slightest sound or movement, they will quickly slide into the water for cover. Captive-bred red-eared sliders are the opposite; they will frequently swim up to you and beg for food.
Although every turtle is different, when handled, red-eared sliders could withdraw into their shells or possibly even nip at your fingers if they feel threatened. This is why it’s not recommended that you frequently handle your red-eared sliders or remove them from their habitats.
Red Eared Sliders: What You Need to Know
Top 10 DON'TS in caring for a Red Eared Slider Turtle. Part 1
Top 10 DONT'S in caring for a Red eared Slider Turtle. Part 2
2-Painted turtle - Chrysemys picta :
Chrysemys picta picta - Eastern Painted Turtle
Chrysemys picta marginata - Midland Painted Turtle
Chrysemys picta belli – Western Painted Turtle
Chrysemys picta dorsalis – Southern Painted Turtle
courtesy to : www.chelonia.org
This care sheet is intended only to cover the general care of this species. Further research to best develop a maintenance plan for whichever species you are caring for is essential.
Many turtle lovers have fond memories from their childhood of canoeing down a lazy river or across a quiet lake and finding hatchling Painted turtles. These diminutive little turtles were the gems of any camping trip. Their bright eyes, yellow skin markings and beautifully patterned plastrons made them a treasure in every child’s hand. While traditionally bringing home one of these turtles resulted in its death a few weeks or months later, present knowledge and technology makes it an easily maintained animal as long as a person is willing to provide some basic requirements. Couple the ability to properly care for them with the increased success that breeders are having and it is now possible to purchase these gems from captive born stock.
HOUSING PAINTED TURTLES INDOORS - The most useful form of indoor accommodation for Chrysemys consists of an aquarium. For hatchlings I would suggest a water depth of 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) with one end built up with rocks to provide a dry basking spot. A reasonable size aquarium for a hatchling is a 20 gallon: 30 inches by 12 inches, (75 cm by 30 cm). As the animal grows the size of this habitat should be increased. All Painted turtles are excellent swimmers so water depth is not as critical a factor as they get older.. A depth of 10 inches up to 30 inches (20 cm to 60 cm) would be fine for turtles between 4 inches (10 cm) and adult size which can reach 8 inches (20 cm)..
Water quality is very important. Many problems with aquatic turtles can be averted if one spends a little time and money designing and purchasing an adequate filtration system for your pets. For adult Painted turtles we advise canister filters as they are easily cleaned and provide for excellent water quality. Hatchlings are more difficult to provide good filtration for because of the depth of the water, for these a submersible foam filer or power filter and frequent water changes is the rule.
In one corner of the environment a hardware store reflector clip light lamp should be positioned to provide artificial basking facilities. This should be positioned to provide a basking spot of 90 degrees F or so (32 degrees C) in that section of the habitat. The habitat should also be equipped with a full spectrum fluorescent light to provide for UVB. A UVB source is necessary for Vitamin D3 syntheses (needed in calcium metabolism). If preferred to this lighting arrangement a Mercury vapor bulb may be used that fulfills all requirements. Live or plastic aquatic plants are suggested to provide a sense of security and hiding places.
Common Musk Turtle :
OUTDOOR HOUSING - Predator proof outdoor habitats offer many advantages over indoor accommodations and should seriously be considered as an option during warm weather. A child’s wading pool sunk into the ground in a secure enclosure makes for a serviceable outdoor habitat. Larger ponds with advanced filtration can be used to provide a spectacular outdoor home for your Painted turtle.
DIET. Be careful not to overfeed your Chrysemys. I recommend only feeding 2 to 3 times a week for adult turtles and every day or every other day for the rapidly growing hatchlings. Painted turtles will consume vegetables, greens such as mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion, spinach, carrots, zucchini and any aquatic vegetation, i.e.. duckweed, water lettuce, water hyacinth, etc. They will also consume insects, worms and fish. Many of the commercially prepared turtle diets that exist on the market today are excellent supplemental Painted turtle food.
Additional calcium supplementation is essential. Powdered calcium can be sprinkled all foods. It is suggested that one use calcium supplemented with vitamin D3 if the animal is being maintained indoors and calcium without D3 if it is outdoors. Provision of a cuttlefish bone, which can be gnawed if desired, is also recommended.
These species hibernate in nature. After careful research of methods used to safely do this, hibernation facilities may be provided for the turtle.
It should be noted that turtle and tortoise care research is ongoing. As new information becomes available we share this on the World Chelonian Trust web site atwww.chelonia.org. Serious keepers find it to be a benefit to have the support of others who keep these species. Care is discussed in our free online email community, which may be joined from the web address above. Please contact us about the many benefits of becoming a member of the World Chelonian Trust.
The common musk turtle does not get very large and can make a hardy pet for turtle enthusiasts.
3-Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) :
The common musk turtle is a member of the family Kinosternidae. It has a blackish-brown carapace that is highly domed with a vertebral keel. The keel tends to flatten out in adults, but is very prominent in hatchlings and juveniles. The plastron is reduced in size. The head of the common musk turtle typically has two distinct parallel yellow stripes that extend from the nose to the neck, though these may fade in older animals.
The common musk turtle has a wide geographic range in eastern North America, from Florida to Ontario, and west to Texas and Wisconsin. Common musk turtles are found in both slow-flowing sections of stream and river habitats, as well as lakes and ponds. Also called the “stinkpot,” a common musk turtle may emit a foul smell from glands on the corners of the plastron that exude an orange-ish liquid. This usually occurs when a turtle is frightened or startled, and often declines in pets that receive frequent handling.
Common Musk Turtle Availability :
Common musk turtles are often available. It is recommended that you obtain captive-bred common musk turtles from a reputable reptile dealer, as wild turtles should not be removed from their native populations.
Common Musk Turtle Size
Common musk turtles are small turtles with a maximum carapace length of 4 to 4.5 inches. Males are slightly larger than females. Common musk turtle hatchlings are the smallest North American turtle, being only slightly larger than a penny.
Common Musk Turtle Life Span :
Although it is not known for certain, common musk turtles are suspected to live 30 to 50 years in the wild. Males are presumed to become sexually mature by 4 years of age, whereas females may take up to 10 years to reach sexual maturity.
Common Musk Turtle Caging:
A 20-gallon aquarium with a submersible canister water filter—such as a Fluval 2Plus filter—can house one adult common musk turtle. A 40-gallon tank can house a pair (and a Fluval 3Plus underwater filter would be able to handle the filtration). Housing two male common musk turtles in the same tank is not recommended. Keeping one male and one female in a tank may require that the two be separated if the male shows excessive interest in the female and begins to relentlessly harass her.
Use non-chlorinated water in the enclosure; a depth that would allow the turtle’s hind legs to touch the bottom while still allowing it to stretch slightly (without having to paddle water constantly) to breathe at the surface is recommended. Though common musk turtles may not choose to leave the water, a floating dock or other haul-out area should be provided should they want to bask.
Although it’s nearly entirely aquatic and seldom leaves the water, a basking area should still be provided for a pet common musk turtle.
Common Musk Turtle Lighting and Temperature
As mentioned, common musk turtles do not always emerge from the water to bask, but a basking light is still essential for captive turtle health; position it above the spot the turtle would bask should it choose to do so. The temperature in this hot spot should be about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A ceramic heat emitter in a metal dome clamp light can be used to raise the ambient air temperature in the enclosure to the mid-80s.
High-quality UVB bulbs (available in stores that sell reptile supplies) are required to help turtles metabolize calcium and avoid vitamin A and D3 deficiencies. Keep lighting on a 12-hours-on/12-hours-off cycle to mimic natural conditions. A submersible heater should be used to maintain water temperature at 72 to 78 degrees.
A frightened musk turtle may be inclined to nip a handler, so hold it near the rear of the carapace and be wary of the long neck.
Common Musk Turtle Substrate :
Substrate is not required when keeping common musk turtles, and a bare-bottomed tank is also easier to clean. Hobbyists who want a more attractive, naturalistic turtle enclosure can use medium-sized gravel.
Common Musk Turtles Food :
Wild common musk turtles eat a variety of small snails, mollusks, crayfish and aquatic insects such as dragonfly and damselfly nymphs. They will also actively pursue small tadpoles and terrestrial insects that fall into the water. They will occasionally consume plant matter such as Elodea species or duckweed. Pet common musk turtles will eat earthworms, cut-up fish and shrimp, crickets and bloodworms. Most pets will eat pelleted turtle foods, as well, including Reptomin and Mazuri Freshwater Turtle Diet.
Common Musk Turtle Handling and Temperament :
Common musk turtles may occasionally attempt to bite, so care should be taken in handling them. Keep your fingers toward the rear of the carapace to minimize the likelihood of a nip, but common musk turtles have long, flexible necks, so be careful. And remember the previously mentioned reason why this turtle is also called the stinkpot.
This large aquatic turtle has a big head with a pointed nose and hooked upper jaw, and a long, thick tail with a row of thick scales along the top. The carapace is black, brown, or olive, with pointed marginal scutes along the rear edge. (The shell is often covered with algae or mud.) Young snappers have three lengthwise keels on the carapace, but large adults may have shells that are nearly smooth. The yellowish plastron is small and cross-shaped and leaves much of the turtle's underside uncovered. This lack of protection may partly explain the snapping turtle's well-known biting defense. This is Michigan's largest turtle, often reaching 10 to 35 pounds (4.5 to 16 kg); the record weight was 86 pounds (39 kg) for a captive specimen.
Adult Carapace Length:
8 to 18.5 inches (20 to 47 cm).
Habitat and Habits
Snapping turtles occur in a variety of aquatic habitats but are most common in slow-moving rivers, marshes, and muddy-bottomed lakes with dense plant growth. They seem quite tolerant of organic pollution. Snappers rarely bask, but frequently travel overland when seeking better habitat or nesting sites, and many are killed while crossing roads.
These turtles are particularly aggressive when out of water, not hesitating to strike out at humans or any other potential enemy. The snapper's long, powerful neck and sharp jaws can deliver a damaging bite, though stories of these animals severing broomsticks are exaggerated! When under water, snapping turtles rarely bite unless restrained, preferring instead to hide in the mud or swim away. The only safe way to carry a large snapper is to grab the base of the tail, making sure the head is pointed away from your body and other people. This method can injure the turtle's tail vertebrae, however, and a "miscalculation" could expose the handler to injury as well. It is best to leave these animals alone whenever possible.
Snapping turtles eat a variety of foods, including insects, worms, leeches, crayfish, snails, tadpoles, frogs, fish, birds, small mammals, carrion, and a variety of aquatic plants. All food is eaten under water. Contrary to popular belief, these turtles do not harm game fish populations under natural conditions. Large snappers will sometimes take young ducks and geese, but the effect of such predation on waterfowl numbers is minimal. (Predators such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, and large fish can have a greater impact on waterfowl reproduction.) Only in small, intensively managed fish or waterfowl breeding areas would control of snapping turtle numbers be beneficial. They are important members of the wetland ecosystem, and routine persecution is unjustified. This is the turtle species most in demand for meat and for making turtle soup, and their minor consumption of game species is certainly balanced by their contribution to human food and sport.
Most breeding activity occurs in the spring and early summer; female snappers may remain fertile for several years after mating. Nesting takes place from late May into July (mostly in June.) The female seeks a sunny site with moist sand or soil, sometimes traveling a considerable distance from the water. In marshes they often nest in muskrat houses or on dikes or road edges. From 10 to 96 spherical eggs, looking something like Ping-Pong balls, are buried in the nest. Larger females lay more and larger eggs. Predators destroy many nests. Those eggs that survive hatch in 55 to 125 days. Hatchlings are black, 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) in carapace length, with very long tails. Despite their instincts to hide and to give off a musky odor and "play dead" when touched, few baby snapping turtles survive to adulthood.
Range and Status
This species is found throughout Michigan. It is generally common, but many local populations have been reduced by exploitation. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources regulates the taking of snapping turtles with closed seasons, minimum size limits, daily and possesion limits, and special licensing and trapping regulations. Always check with the DNR for current rules before trapping or capturing turtles.
The little spotted turtle has a smooth, black carapace with a variable number of rounded yellow spots. The plastron is yellow or orange with a black blotch in each scute; the blotches may cover most of the plastron in some specimens. The head, neck, and legs are black above, usually with a few scattered yellow spots, and there are usually one or more irregular orange or yellow bands on the side of the head. The skin under the legs and neck is orange or pinkish. Occasional specimens have no spots on the carapace; others may have only one spot per scute. Males usually have brown eyes and brown or black lower jaws, while most females have orange eyes and yellow or orange lower jaws.
Adult Carapace Length:
3.5 to 5 inches (9 to 12.7 cm).
Habitat and Habits
This species inhabits small ponds, bogs, sphagnum seepages, and grassy marshes. The primary requirements are clean, shallow water with a mud bottom and ample aquatic and emergent vegetation. Spotted turtles become active quite early in spring and often bask on logs or grass clumps. If disturbed, they dive into the water and bury themselves in bottom mud. Overland movement is common. These turtles are not often seen in summer -- they are less active in hot weather, and the growth of surrounding vegetation helps to conceal them. Shy and retiring, spotted turtles rarely bite in self-defense. They eat a variety of small animals and plants, including insects, snails, worms, slugs, crayfish, tadpoles, duckweed, algae, and fruit. Most food is taken and eaten underwater.
Mating usually occurs in April and May in shallow water. Males pursue the females, nipping at their legs and shell margins; they may also fight with other males courting the same female. In June females move to elevated, open places to nest. From 2 to 7 elliptical, soft-shelled eggs are buried in the nest cavity. Incubation can take from 45 to 83 days, depending on nest temperature and humidity. Baby spotted turtles usually have black carapaces with one yellow spot per scute. An occasional hatchling will have a brownish carapace without spots, but nearly all have some spots on the head.
Range and Status
Spotted turtles have been recorded from most of the Lower Peninsula, except for the northeastern counties and the northern tip of the "Thumb", but are most common in the southwestern corner of the LP. Destruction of their specialized wetland habitat and exploitation by pet collectors have led to a serious decline in their numbers over much of the state, and the species is generally rare and confined to localized colonies. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has listed the spotted turtle as a "species of special concern". This turtle is protected by state regulations and may not be taken from the wild or possessed without a scientific collector's permit issued by the DNR.
5-The wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) :
is a turtle endemic to North America. It is in the genus Glyptemys, a designation given to only one other turtle: the bog turtle. The wood turtle reaches a carapace length of 14 to 20 centimeters (5.5 to 7.9 in), its defining characteristic being the pyramidal pattern on its upper shell.Morphologically, it is similar to the bog turtle, spotted turtle, and Blanding's turtle. The wood turtle exists in a broad range extending from Nova Scotia in the north (and east) to Minnesota in the west and Virginia in the south. In the past, it was forced south by encroaching glaciers: skeletal remains have been found as far south as Georgia.
It spends a great deal of time in or near the water of wide rivers, preferring shallow, clear streams with compacted and sandy bottoms. The wood turtle can also be found in forests and grasslands, but will rarely be seen more than several hundred meters from flowing water. It is diurnal and is not overtly territorial. It spends the winter in hibernation and the hottest parts of the summer in estivation.
The wood turtle is omnivorous and is capable of eating on land or in water. On an average day, a wood turtle will move 108 meters (354 ft), a decidedly long distance. Many other animals that live in its habitat pose a threat to it. Raccoons are over-abundant in many places and are a direct threat to all life stages of this species. Inadvertently, humans cause a large number of deaths through habitat destruction, road traffic, farming accidents, and illegal collection. When unharmed, it can live for up to 40 years in the wild and 58 years in captivity.
Formerly in the genus Clemmys, the wood turtle is now a member of Glyptemys, a classification that wood turtles share with only the bog turtle. It and the bog turtle have a similar genetic makeup, which is marginally different from that of the spotted turtle, the only current member of the Clemmys genus. It has undergone extensive name changes by various scientists over the course of its history. Today, there are several prominent common names for the wood turtle, including sculptured tortoise, red-legged tortoise, and redleg
Although no subspecies are recognized, there are morphological differences in wood turtles between areas. Individuals found in the west of its range (areas like the Great Lakes and the Midwest United States) have a paler complexion on the inside of their legs and underside of their necks than ones found in the east (places including the Appalachian Mountains, New York, and Pennsylvania).Genetic analysis has also revealed that southern populations have less genetic diversity than the northern; however, both exhibit a fair amount of diversity considering the decline in numbers that have occurred during previous ice ages.
Wood turtles grow to between 14 and 20 centimeters (5.5 and 7.9 in) in length, and reach a maximum of 23.4 centimeters (9.2 in). They have a rough carapace that is a tan, grayish brown or brown color, with a central ridge (called a keel) made up of a pyramidal pattern of ridges and grooves. Older turtles typically display an abraded or worn carapace. Fully grown, they weigh 1 kilogram (35 oz). The wood turtle's karyotype consists of 50 chromosomes.
The larger scutes display a pattern of black or yellow lines. The wood turtle'splastron (ventral shell) is yellowish in color and has dark patches. The posterior margin of the plastron terminates in a V-shaped notch. Although sometimes speckled with yellowish spots, the upper surface of the head is often a dark gray to solid black. The ventral surfaces of the neck, chin, and legs are orange to red
with faint yellow stripes along the lower jaw of some individuals. Seasonal variation in color vibrancy have been known to occur.
At maturity, males, who reach a maximum length of 23.4 centimeters (9.2 in), are larger than females, who have been recorded to reach 20.4 centimeters (8.0 in). Males also have larger claws, a larger head, a concave plastron, a more dome-like carapace, and longer tails than females. The plastron of females and juveniles is flat while in males it gains concavity with age. The posterior marginal scutes of females and juveniles (of either gender) radiate outward more than in mature males. The coloration on the neck, chin, and inner legs is more vibrant in males than in females who display a pale yellowish color in those areas. Hatchlings range in size from 2.8 to 3.8 centimeters (1.1 to 1.5 in) in length (straight carapace measurement). The plastrons of hatchlings are dull gray to brown. Their tail usually equals the length of the carapace and their neck and legs lack the bright coloration found in adults. Hatchling's carapaces also are as wide as they are long and lack the pyramidal pattern found in older turtles.
The eastern box turtle and Blanding's turtle are similar in appearance to the wood turtle and all three live in overlapping habitats. However, unlike the wood turtle, both the Blanding's turtle and members of the box turtle family have hinged plastrons that allow them to completely close their shells. The diamondback terrapin has a shell closely resembling the wood turtle's; however its skin is gray in color, and it inhabits coastal brackish and saltwater marshes. The bog turtle and spotted turtle are also similar, but neither of these have the specific sculptured pattern found on the carapaces of the wood turtle.
Distribution and habitat :
The wood turtle is found in most New England states, Nova Scotia, west to Michigan, northern Indiana and Minnesota, and south to Virginia. Overall, the distribution is disjunct with populations often being small and isolated. Roughly 30% of its total population is in Canada. It prefers slow-moving streams containing a sandy bottom and heavily vegetated banks. The soft bottoms and muddy shores of these streams are ideal for overwintering. Also, the areas bordering the streams (usually with open canopies ) are used for nesting. Spring to summer is spent in open areas including forests, fields, bogs, wet meadows, and beaver ponds. The rest of the year is spent in the aforementioned waterways
The densities of wood turtle populations have also been studied. In the northern portion of its range (Quebec and other areas of Canada), populations are fairly dilute, containing an average of 0.44 individuals per 1 hectare (2.5 acres), while in the south, over the same area, the densities varied largely from 6 to 90 turtles. In addition to this, it has been found that colonies often have more females than males.
In the western portion of its range, wood turtles are more aquatic. In the east, wood turtles are decidedly more terrestrial, especially during the summer. During this time, they can be found in wooded areas with wide open canopies. However, even here, they are never far from water and will enter it every few days.
In the past, wood turtle populations were forced south by extending glaciers. Remains from the Rancholabrean period (300,000 to 11,000 years ago) have been found in states such as Georgia and Tennessee, both of which are well south of their current range. After the receding of the ice, wood turtle colonies were able to re-inhabit their customary northern range (areas like New Brunswick and Nova Scotia).
Ecology and behavior:
During the spring, the wood turtle is active during the daytime (usually from about 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) and will almost always be found within several hundred metres of a stream. The early morning and late afternoon are preferred foraging periods.Throughout this season, the wood turtle use logs, sandy shores, or banks to bask in sunlight. In order to maintain its body temperatures through thermoregulation, it spends a considerable amount of time basking, most of which takes place in the late morning and late afternoon. The wood turtle reaches a peak body temperature of 37 °C (99 °F) after basking. During times of extreme heat, it has been known to estivate. Several reports mention individuals resting under vegetation, fallen debris and in shallow puddles. During the summer, the wood turtle is considered a largely terrestrial animal. At night, its average body temperature drops to between 15 and 20 °C (59 and 68 °F) and it will rest in small creeks or nearby land (usually in areas containing some sort of underbrush or grass).
During warmer weather, the wood turtle stays in the water for a larger percentage of the time. For this reason, during the winter months (and the late fall and early spring) it is considered an aquatic turtle. November through February or March is spent in hibernation at the bottom of a small, flowing river. The wood turtle may hibernate alone or in large groups. During this period, individuals bury themselves in the thick mud at the bottom of the river and rarely move. During hibernation, it is vulnerable to flash floods. Emergence does not occur until March or sometimes April, months that mark the beginning of its activation period (males are typically more active than females at this time).
Males are known to be aggressive, with larger and older turtles being more dominant. Larger males rank higher on the social hierarchy often created by wood turtle colonies. In the wild, the submissive turtle is either forced to flee, or is bombarded with physical abuses, which include biting, shoving, and ramming. Larger and more dominant males will sometimes try to remove a subordinate male while he is mating with a female. The defender will, if he does not successfully fight for his position, lose the female to the larger male. Therefore, among males, there is a direct relationship between copulation opportunities and social rank. However, the outcome of encounters between two turtles is more aggression-dependent than size-dependent. The wood turtle that is more protective of his or her area is the victor. Physical bouts between wood turtles (regardless of gender) increases marginally during the fall and spring (times of mating).
The wood turtle is omnivorous, feeding mainly on plant matter and animals both on land and in water. It eats prey such as beetles, millipedes, and slugs. Also, wood turtles consume specific fungi (Amanita muscaria and Leccinum arcolatum),mosses, grasses, various insects, and also carrion. On occasion, it can be seen stomping the ground with alternating hits of the left and right front feet. This behavior is thought to imitate the sound of falling rain, sometimes causing earthworms to rise to the surface where they quickly become easy prey. When hunting, the wood turtle pokes its head into such areas as dead and decaying logs, the bottoms of bushes, and in other vegetation. In the water, it exhibits similar behavior, searching algae beds and cavities along the sides of the stream or river.
Many different animals are predators of or otherwise pose a threat to the wood turtle. They include snapping turtles,porcupines, raccoons, otters, foxes, and cats. All of these species destroy unhatched eggs and prey upon hatchlings and juveniles. Several animals that often target wood turtle eggs are the common raven and coyote, which may completely destroy the nests they encounter. Evidence of predatory attacks (wounds to the skin and such) are common on individuals, but the northern populations tend to display more scarring than the southern ones. In addition to these threats, wood turtles also suffer from leech infestations.
The wood turtle can travel at a relatively fast speed (upwards of 0.32 kilometers per hour (0.20 mph)); it also travels long distances during the months that it is active. In one instance, of nine turtles studied, the average distance covered in a 24-hour period was 108 meters (354 ft), with a net displacement of 60 meters (197 ft).
The wood turtle, an intelligent animal, has homing capabilities. Its mental capacity for directional movement was discovered after the completion of an experiment that involved an individual finding food in a maze. The results proved that these turtles have locating abilities similar to that of a rat. This was also proved by another, separate experiment. One male wood turtle was displaced 2.4 kilometers (1.5 mi) after being captured, and within five weeks, it returned to the original location. The homing ability of the wood turtle does not vary among genders, age groups, or directions of travel.
Life cycle :
The wood turtle takes a long time to reach sexual maturity, has a low fecundity(ability to reproduce), but has a high adult survival rate. However, the high survival rates are not true of juveniles or hatchlings. Although males establish hierarchies, they are not territorial. The wood turtle becomes sexually mature between 14 and 18 years of age. Mating activity among wood turtles peaks in the spring and again in the fall, although it is known to mate throughout the portion of the year they are active. However, it has been observed mating in December. In one rare instance, a female wood turtle hybridized with a male Blanding's turtle
The courtship ritual consists of several hours of 'dancing,' which usually occurs on the edge of a small stream. Males often initiate this behavior: starting by nudging the females shell, head, tail, and legs. Because of this behavior, the female may flee from the area, in which case the male will follow. After the chase (if it occurs), the male and female approach and back away from each other as they continually raise and extend their heads. After some time, they lower their heads and swing them from left to right. Once it is certain that the two individuals will mate, the male will gently bite the female's head and mount her. Intercourse lasts between 22 and 33 minutes. Actual copulation takes place in the water, between depths between 0.1 and 1.2 meters (0 and 4 ft). Although unusual, copulation does occur on land. During the two prominent times of mating (spring and fall), females are mounted anywhere from one to eight times, with several of these causing impregnation. For this reason, a number of wood turtle clutches have been found to have hatchlings from more than one male.
Nesting occurs from May until July. Nesting areas receive ample sunlight, contain soft soil, are free from flooding, and are devoid of rocks and disruptively large vegetation. These sites however, can be limited among wood turtle colonies, forcing females to travel long distances in search of a suitable site, sometimes a 250 meters (820 ft) trip. Before laying her eggs, the female may prepare several false nests. After a proper area is found, she will dig out a small cavity, lay about seven eggs (but anywhere from three to 20 is common), and fill in the area with earth. Oval and white, the eggs average 3.7 centimeters (1.5 in) in length and 2.36 centimeters (0.93 in) in width, and weigh about 12.7 grams (0.45 oz). The nests themselves are 5 to 10 centimeters (2.0 to 3.9 in) deep, and digging and filling it may take a total of four hours. Hatchlings emerge from the nest between August and October with overwintering being rare although entirely possible. An average length of 3.65 centimeters (1.44 in), the hatchlings lack the vibrant coloration of the adults.[ Female wood turtles in general lay one clutch per year and tend to congregate around optimum nesting areas.
The wood turtle, throughout the first years of its life, is a rapid grower. Five years after hatching, it already measures 11.5 centimeters (4.5 in), at age 16, it is a full 16.5 to 17 centimeters (6.5 to 6.7 in), depending on gender. The wood turtle can be expected to live for 40 years in the wild, with captives living up to 58 years.
Despite many sightings and a seemingly large and diverse distribution, wood turtle numbers are in decline. A large number of deaths caused by humans result from: habitat destruction, farming accidents, and road traffic. Also, it is commonly collected illegally for the international pet trade. These combined threats have caused many areas where they live to enact laws protecting it. Despite legislation, enforcement of the laws and education of the public regarding the species are minimal.
For proper protection of the wood turtle,in-depth land surveys of its habitat to establish population numbers are needed. One emerging solution to the highway mortality problem, which primarily affects nesting females, is the construction of under-road channels. These tunnels allow the wood turtle to pass under the road, a solution that helps prevent accidental deaths. Brochures and other media that warn people to avoid keeping the wood turtle as a pet are currently being distributed. Next, leaving nests undisturbed, especially common nesting sites and populations, is the best solution to enable the wood turtle's survival.
6-Eastern box turtle
Terrapene carolina carolina
This is a small land turtle with a domed, helmet-shaped carapace and a hinged plastron. Coloration of the shell and skin is extremely variable. The carapace is usually brown with a radiating pattern of yellow or orange markings in each scute. The plastron can be yellowish, tan, brown, or black, and either plain or marked with lines or blotches. Skin of the head and legs is usually brown or black with streaks and spots of yellow, but some (especially males) may have the yellow or orange color covering most of the head and forelimbs. The plastral hinge allows the box turtle to close the shell tightly, completely hiding the head, legs, and tail. Most male box turtles have red eyes, while most females have brown eyes.
Adult Carapace Length:
4.5 to 7.8 inches (11.5 to 19.8 cm).
Habitat and Habits
This is Michigan's only truly terrestrial turtle. They typically inhabit open woodlands, often near water, but may wander into thickets, meadows, grassy dunes, and gardens. They will soak at the edges of ponds or streams in hot weather but avoid deep water and swim poorly. Most box turtles remain in a rather small home range (often less than 5 acres) for most of their lives, and they may live a long time -- some have reportedly passed the century mark.
Eastern box turtles eat a great variety of plants and small animals, including insects, worms, slugs, snails, carrion, mushrooms, berries, and fruit . The young are largely carnivorous, taking more plant foods as they grow. A liking for tomatoes, strawberries, and melons may occasionally attract these gentle creatures to gardens, but they are easily fenced out or transported away from the problem area. Well protected by their shells, box turtles rarely bite to defend themselves.
Courtship and mating is most frequent in spring but may occur in summer and fall. Courtship behavior involves much nipping and nudging of the female's shell by the male. Females can lay fertile eggs for up to four years after one mating. Most nesting takes place in June, with 3 to 8 eggs being buried in an open, often elevated location. Incubation requires from 75 to 90 days. Hatchlings are gray or brown with a single yellow spot in each carapace scute. They spend most of their time hiding under leaves and other forest debris and are rarely seen. The plastral hinge does not work in very young box turtles, but they can give off a strong odor that may deter predators.
Range and Status:
Eastern box turtles have been found in the southern and western Lower Peninsula. They are locally common in the southwestern counties but have practically disappeared from much of their former Michigan range. Conversion of wooded habitat to various human uses is the most serious threat to the species, but many box turtles are killed on roads or collected as pets each year. Eastern box turtles are listed as a "species of special concern" by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. They are protected by DNR regulations and may not be killed or removed from the wild.
Blanding's turtle is a medium-sized turtle with an elongated, dome-like carapace and a long neck. The smooth carapace is usually black with a variable number of yellowish spots and streaks. The head is also dark, with brown or yellow spots, but the chin and the underside of the neck are bright yellow. The yellowish plastron has a dark blotch at the outer edge of each scute, and there is usually a flexible hinge between the pectoral and abdominal scutes. A frightened turtle may use this hinge to lift the front and back of the plastron and close up its shell. Hinge flexibility varies greatly among individuals, with some specimens having little or no shell closing ability.
Adult Carapace Length:
6 to 10.5 inches (15.2 to 26.8 cm).
Habitat and Habits:
Blanding's turtles inhabit shallow bodies of water with some aquatic plant growth and a muddy bottom, such as marshes, ponds, and river backwaters. They are most often seen while wandering overland in spring and fall, and females seeking nest sites may travel considerable distances. Unfortunately, these turtles are frequent road victims. Most feeding occurs under water, where prey is captured by a quick thrust of the long neck. Favorite foods include crayfish, insects, tadpoles, frogs, and carrion. Blanding's turtles are timid creatures that rarely bite defensively, relying instead on their shells for protection. They are potentially long-lived animals, often attaining ages of 50 years or more.
Mating occurs in water in the spring. The yellow neck coloration probably assists in species recognition. Most females nest in June, burying from 3 to 21 elliptical, soft-shelled eggs in a sunny location. The hatchlings emerge in late August or September. They have dark gray or brown carapaces averaging about 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) long and long, thin tails.
Range and Status :
This turtle is fairly common in parts of the Lower Peninsula but is rare and local in the Upper Peninsula. Primary threats to the species include loss or alteration of wetland habitats and destruction on roads.
Turtle Species :
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