The Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata), the only extant species of the genus Clemmys, is a small, semi-aquatic (i.e., it lives partly in water and partly on land) turtle that reaches a carapace length of 3” to 5” upon adulthood. Their broad, smooth, low dark-colored upper shell, or carapace, ranges in its exact colour from black to a bluish black with a number of yellow tiny round spots. The spotting patterning extends from the head, to the neck and out onto the limbs. The number and arrangement of spots is extremely variable and changes with age. Hatchling turtles usually have one spot on each plate, while older individuals are well sprinkled with 100 or more. Spotted Turtles are one of the few species in which males and females can be told apart from birth. The male spotted turtle has a tan chin, brown eyes, and a long, thick tail. The chin of the female is yellow; she also has orange eyes and a shorter tail than the male. Spotteds aren’t the best of swimmers do to the fact that they have small web feet. They are a smaller and skinnier species of turtles. They love shady areas also to cool down without going into the water all the time. Loss of habitat has been largely responsible for the major decline of the spotted turtle throughout its entire range. This turtle is very sensitive to pollution and toxicants and disappears rapidly with declining water quality. To further stress the species, pet collecting is currently responsible for the annual loss of significant numbers. It is listed as endangered in Illinois and Ohio threatened in Maine and Vermont, special concern in Indiana, and protected in Massachusetts.
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Adult Spotted Turtle
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