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Wood Turtle

Scientific Name: Glyptemys insculpta Le Conte 

Species Ambassador


Willow was discovered in Wyoming, MI suffering from leg injuries in 2004. She is a permanent resident at Blandford because her injuries have left her with two stumps for front limbs, most likely caused by an attack from either a dog or raccoon. Her front leg injuries prevent her from being able to bury herself and hibernate safely through the winter.

Status in the State of Michigan

Due to a rapid decline in populations of Wood Turtles over the past 30 years, these turtles are a state species of special concern


Wood Turtles prefer to live near clear, medium sized streams and rivers with sandy areas for nesting and lots of vegetation for eating.  In Michigan, Wood Turtles live primarily in the northern parts of the state.


Wood Turtles like to eat various types of vegetation growing along rivers and streams such as raspberries, strawberries, grasses, willows, algae and moss.

Importance of Wood Turtles to Our Ecosystems

Wood Turtles help disperse the seeds of the fruits that they eat.

Threats to Wood Turtles

The greatest threat facing Wood Turtles is human activity. Taking these turtles from the wild and keeping them as pets has greatly reduced their numbers.  These turtles have very low reproductive success, so each and every one of them is important to maintain their numbers in the wild.  If one female is taken from the wild, it really isn't just that one turtle that is taken, but all of her potential hatchling babies and the babies that those babies would have had.

How We Can Help Wood Turtles

-Leave Wood Turtles in the wild where they belong, so that they can continue to contribute to       their populations.

-Taking Wood Turtles from the wild is illegal and any suspected collection of their species           should be reported to the local authorities.

-Help keep streams and rivers clean and free of pollution by reducing the use of fertilizers and    pesticides near waterways.

-Help keep track of Wood Turtle populations by contacting the Michigan Natural Features            Inventory by calling 517-373-1552

Interesting Facts

-Wood Turtles can feed both under water and on land.

-In addition to vegetation, they also sometimes eat dead animals.

-During the winter, Wood Turtles hibernate under ice where the water stays above freezing.         They will sometimes hibernate in beaver lodges or muskrat burrows!

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