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Endangered Wood Turtle: Slowly Vanishing From Our Streams and Woodlands

January 7, 2020

Endangered Wood Turtle: Slowly Vanishing From Our Streams and Woodlands

- as seen by -

Scott D. Gillingwater Scott D. Gillingwater

This reptile, a wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta), is named for its beautiful shell that has a wooden appearance.

It is an endangered species in Ontario due to road mortality, illegal collection, loss of habitat, and high depredation of nests.

Active recovery efforts are taking place, though threats continue to increase in both number and severity. The adult female wood turtle (above) is from a long-term study population in Ontario, Canada. She is from an exceptionally light-colored population — the shell matches the yellow algae found on rocks in their stream habitat.

Canon EOS Rebel

, Canada Map It


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wendy townsend
January 12, 2020 at 9:56 am

Here in the Catskills wood turtles are also disappearing. There are more people driving faster and without care. I take injured turtles to a friend, who rehabilitates reptiles. We have a fair success rate and return the turtles with healed shells to the same location, near their ancestral streams and rivers. Thank you for this brief, strong post.

July 17, 2021 at 11:08 am

We are protecting newly laid wood turtle eggs. Want to know what to do when and if they hatch. Do we move them to the water’s edge or let them try to get there by themselves. Thank you.