Wood Turtle

Species Name: Glyptemys insculpta

Species Distribution in Massachusetts

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Federal Rank: None

Massachusetts State Rank: Special Concern

Habitat Description

Riparian areas containing slower moving, sandy bottomed and heavily vegetated mid-sized streams that provide areas for hibernating sites for winter. Open areas with sand or gravel are used for nesting. During the spring and summer they spend most of their time in mixed or deciduous forests, fields, hay fields and beaver ponds.

Threats to Survival

Hatchling and juvenile survival is low and it takes a long time for them to reach sexual maturity. Although they live and breed for long periods of time, the need for a high adult survivorship rate makes them susceptible to human caused disturbances. Hay-mowing operations, development of wooded stream banks, roadway casualties, incidental collection of specimens for pets, unnaturally inflated rates of predation in suburban and urban areas, forestry and agricultural activities and pollution of streams all factor into declining populations.

Actions Recommended to Ensure Survival

Assess and prioritize their habitat needs and their predicted ability to support self-sustaining populations. Habitat fragmentation and proximity to other unfragmented habitats should also be considered. Alternative mowing and nest creation, educational materials, alternative wildlife corridor structures, forestry conservation management practices, increased law enforcement and a statewide monitoring program should all be considered to promote growth in population.