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Spotted Turtle

Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo

Did You Know?

  • When threatened, these turtles dive into the water and bury themselves in mud.
  • Spotted turtles can live up to between 65–110 years. It may take a decade for them to mature.
  • They hibernate on the muddy bottoms of shallow waterways, often with other turtles. In the summer, they may lie dormant (aestivate) during hot and dry periods.

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Scientific Name: Clemmys guttata

Class: Reptiles

Diet: Worms, slugs, snails, crustaceans, frogs, tadpoles (also algae, leaves, and seeds)

Range: Northeastern United States and Southern Canada

Endangered Status: Endangered

More Information

Spotted turtles are small reptiles, growing to be just over 5 inches long. They have a brownish-black upper shell (carapace) and skin, along with a yellow or orange bottom (plastron) with black patches that become darker and larger with age. Their head, legs, and neck are usually pink with yellow or orange spots. These turtles are semiaquatic and spend time both on land and in the water.

These turtles court and mate in the spring. Females store sperm in their bodies until it is needed to fertilize eggs. Nesting occurs at night on sand or soft soil, with two to seven eggs being laid. In August and September, young turtles emerge. Spotted turtle populations are currently fragmented and small. They are vulnerable to vehicle traffic, predators such as raccoons, and collection for the pet trade.

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