Category Archives: Turtles

About the turtles at Hirundo.

Turtles

Maine Turtle Species

Native turtle species within the state of Maine are the Eastern Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta pitca), the Midland Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata), the Northern Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentine), the Spotted turtle (Chelemmys gutatta), the Wood turtle (Glyptempys insculpta), the Eastern Box turtle (Terrapene Carolina Carolina), the Musk turtle (Stenotherus odoratus), and the Blandings turtle (Emydoidea blandingii).

These eight species thrive in shallow lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. To raise body temperature these river turtles bask on fallen logs in early spring after emerging from overwintering. Then they seek food resources to earn energy needed for growth and reproduction. After completing the stages of reproduction in the late summer and early fall they move to aquatic hibernacula, which are often permanent wetlands or seasonal pools.

During the active life the turtle species suffers from numerous endangerments, like wetland alteration or destructions. These important factors in the decline of species forces the species to make terrestrial movements across several wetlands for mating, foraging, basking, aestivating, and overwintering purposes, which exposes them to road mortality.

 

Common species in Maine are the Eastern Painted turtle, the Midland Painted turtle, Northern Snapping turtle, and the Musk turtle.

The Eastern Painted turtle’s skin is olive to black with red, orange, or with yellow stripes in its extremities. They consume aquatic vegetation, algae, and small water creatures including insects, crustaceans, and fish.

The Midland Painted turtle is similar to the Eastern Painted both with yellow stripes on the head area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distinguishing feature for the Midland Painted turtle is a symmetrical dark shadow on the bottom shell.

The Northern Snapping turtle has powerful beak-like jaws and a highly mobile head and neck. Sometimes the snapping turtle basks by floating on the surface with only their carapace exposed. They are omnivores and can consume even birds and small mammals.

Musk turtle can be aggressive and often secrete a malodorous musk when handled.  Photo by LA Dawson

Musk turtle can be aggressive and often secrete a malodorous musk when handled. Photo by LA Dawson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special concern species are the Spotted turtle and the Wood turtle.

The Spotted turtle is dark colored with yellow to orange round spots. These spots extend to the head, neck, and limbs.

The Spotted turtle is dark colored with yellow to orange round spots. These spots extend to the head, neck, and limbs.

The Wood Turtle has orange coloration on limbs and neck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endangered species are Eastern Box Turtle and the Blandings Turtle.

Eastern Box turtles move and mature slowly. To distinguish the sexes look deeply into their eyes. The eyes of males are red and the ones of females brown. When injured or damaged the shell has the capacity to regenerate and reform. This species is also known to consume poisonous fungi making their flesh inedible.

Blanding's turtle has a characteristic yellowish coloration on the neck and small yellow specks on the carapace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited: Turtles. 2009- 2011 Maine Herpetological Society. <www.maineherp.org>