American Spotted Pond Turtle
Scientific Name: Clemmys guttata
The Spotted Turtle gets its name from the yellow spots that cover its carapace. As a young Spotted Turtle, they have one yellow spot per scute. As the Spotted Turtle ages, its spots begin to fade. Sometimes they completely lack spots and the carapace will be completely black. The carapace is generally a dark brown or black color. The carapace of the Spotted Turtle is smooth. The plastron of the Spotted Turtle is yellow or orange in coloring with black splotches that can sometimes cover the entire breadth of the plastron. Growth rings on the plastron can be used to determine the turtles approximate age. Spotted Turtles are relatively small, measuring from 3.5 inches to 5 inches as adults. The head of the turtle is generally black with a yellow splotch on each side and a variable number of spots covering the rest of it. The upper legs and tail are black in coloring with yellow spots and the neck and lower parts of the legs vary in color from orange to pink.
Male and female Spotted Turtles show an extreme amount of sexual dimorphism. The carapace of a male is more compressed and extended, with a concave plastron. His eyes are brown and his chin is tan, brown, or black. His tail is generally longer with his vent placed beyond the edge of the carapace when his tail is extended. The female Spotted Turtle has a rounder and higher carapace as well as a flat plastron. Her eyes are orange and her chin differs from the male's chin in that it is yellow or orange. Her tail is narrow, and with it completely extended, her vent is at or beneath the edge of the carapace. The female Spotted Turtle also tends to average a larger size than a male Spotted Turtle.
Ideally, SpottedTurtles should be housed outdoors when weather permits. They should have a pool and land area, preferably with a muddy land area between the two. In captivity, Spotted Turtles should be fed a variety of foods such as commercial turtle diet, fish, tadpoles, salamander, earthworms, crustaceans, and a variety of different insects.
Gravid female Spotted Turtles will dig a nest with their hind legs and there deposit a clutch, which can contain anywhere from two to eight eggs, the average being 4. Females in captivity have been known to lay many clutches, as many as 3 per season with an average of 1 to 2. Depending largely upon the temperature, incubation can take anywhere from 60 to 80 days. Temperature can predetermine the sex of the hatchlings. Lower temperatures tend to produce males, while higher temperatures tend to produce females.
Found in many states along the eastern seaboard
The Spotted Turtle is an attractive small turtle that is highly regarded by those who care for them.
The Spotted Turtle is a turtle with a generally mild temperament. They are relatively easy to keep for those who do not live in areas with exceedingly warm temperatures. These turtles like the colder weather and in the wild can be seen coming out of hibernation when there is actually still snow on the ground. They are an endangered species in Illinois and ownership laws may exist in different states, so it is important to look into this first.
The Spotted Turtle can be found in many states along the eastern seaboard. These states include Maine, New England, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Quebec and Vermont. They can also be found farther west in places like Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In all of these areas, the Spotted Turtle lives in wetland areas including meadows, prairies, muddy streams, and woodland ponds. Populations of these Turtles in the wild tend to be small, due to capture for the pet trade and habitat destruction. They may be more common in captivity than in the wild today.