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Bog Turtle Calemys muhlenbergii (Clemmys muhlenbergii)


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Bog Turtle
© Gary M. Stolz/U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Alternate name: Muhlenberg's Turtle

Family: Emydidae, Pond and Box Turtles view all from this family

Description Head dark brown-black, bright yellow, orange/ red spot on each side of its neck. The spot is often forked, facing posteriorly. Dark skin color with an orange-red wash on the inside of the legs of some individuals. The carapace is domed and rectangular in shape, and it tends to be narrower toward the head and wider toward the tail. Carapace has rings on scutes.

Dimensions 7.6-11.4cm. (3-4 1/2")

Endangered Status The Bog Turtle is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. The northern population is classified as threatened in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The southern population, found in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, is not considered threatened but receives protection under the Endangered Species Act as a population similar in appearance to a threatened population. Bog Turtles have declined throughout their range because of loss of wetland habitat. Development, water-management practices, agriculture, and road building have all contributed to altering their habitats and to impeding the turtles' access to new habitats. This turtle has also suffered at the hands of collectors, as it is coveted in the pet trade because of its small size, attractive coloration, and even because of its rarity. Some experts believe that the northern population should be reclassified as endangered and the southern as threatened.

Breeding Mature at 5-7 years. Breeds in Spring, lays eggs in June. 1-6 eggs in a clutch.

Habitat Calcareous wetlands (areas containing lime), including meadows, bogs, marshes, and spring seeps, that have both wet and dry regions.

Range Eastern United States.

Discussion Active April-October. Diet includes tadpoles, slugs, snails and insects. Often seen basking in the sun in springtime. Hides under vegetation or mud to avoid hot periods. Buries itself in mud in winter.