North American Wood Turtle

North American Wood Turtle
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  • Item #: NAWT

Scientific Name:   Glyptemys insculpta

Identification: Glyptemys insculpta 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. This carapace is the most prominent feature of the Wood Turtle. In fact, the Wood Turtle received its name not because it inhabits forested areas (i.e., the woods), but because of the sculpted appearance of its carapace. At maturity, males, who reach a maximum length of 9.2", are larger than females, who have been recorded to reach 8". Males also have larger claws, a larger head, a concave plastron, a more dome-like carapace, and longer tails than females.

Range: The wood turtle is a turtle endemic to North America. It exists in a broad range extending from Nova Scotia in the north (and east) to Minnesota in the west and Virginia in the south.

Diet: The wood turtle is omnivorous and is capable of eating on land or in water. These turtles will eat anything that is edible. By nature, they are omnivores, consuming both animal and plant matter. However, they tend to be more carnivorous than anything else. In the wild they eat a variety of things. These include worms, crayfish, fish, beetles, ants, and even mice. As far as plant matter goes, their favorite plants are wild blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Based on observations in the wild, they eat anything that will fit in their mouth and is edible.

The rugged looking carapace on Glyptemys insculpta is the result of a particular way in which the scutes grow on Wood Turtles that gives them an almost pyramidal shape. Unlike other turtles that shed their scutes as they grow, the Wood Turtle does not. Other turtles grow slightly larger scutes each year under the old ones. In late summer, the old scutes detach as the turtle dries out while basking. As they dry, the scutes curl up at the edges and just fall off. Snapping Turtles, on the other hand, are continuously shedding little tiny bits of scute, much like our human skin flakes off in tiny bits. The Wood Turtle scutes grow in a similar fashion as the Painted Turtle's scutes, except the older layer remains attached and never falls off. So, as the years go by, each scute on the Wood Turtle's shell adds steps, so to speak.

The Wood Turtle 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 a few hundred yards 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.


Price $279.00
Availability Out-of-Stock

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