Wood Turtle

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Glyptemys insculpta

Habitat: Wood turtles can be found in the forests, fields, bogs, and wetlands of northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. 

Diet: Wood turtles are omnivores and live on a diet of worms, snails, fish, frogs, tadpoles, leaves, mushrooms, and berries.

Size: 0.4 to 0.8 feet long

Weight: 1.5 to 2.5 pounds

Lifespan: 50 to 60 years

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Endangered –  a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to possess a very high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 50 to more than 70 percent over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 250 individuals, or other factors. 

Our Wood Turtle:

Donatella (Female) – Estimated Date of Birth 1987

About Wood Turtles:

Wood turtles – who obtained their name based on their wooded habitats and bark textured shells – can be found in the northeast section of North America from Nova Scotia to the Great Lakes. While their hard shells are capable of protecting them from a lot of dangers, they are not resistant to human advancements. Like a lot of other turtles from the area, their populations are in decline due to habitat destruction, road accidents, and illegal pet trades. Thankfully, efforts are being made by the AZA to help protect these turtles through the SAFE: North American Turtle Program!  

Did You Know?!

  • Unlike other turtle species that favor either land or water, the wood turtle resides in both aquatic and terrestrial environments.
  • Wood turtles spend the cold winter months hibernating in fast-flowing streams, emerging to feed on land during warmer months.
  • Wood turtles have been known to hunt with a very unique and special method known as “worm stomping.” This behavior involves the turtle stomping on the ground to trick hiding worms and other insects into thinking that it is raining. This makes the insects and invertebrates come out of the ground and right into the wood turtle’s mouth to become a tasty snack! 

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 8/3 for BREWFEST and will reopen with normal hours on 8/4!