The â€˜clemys guttataâ€™ or the spotted turtle as it is more commonly known, is an amphibian found mainly in low-lying shallow water bodies. They are mainly found in Eastern North America including states like Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia and the lake areas.
The spotted turtles are distinguished by the bright orange and yellow spots on the head and the black back and they usually grow in size up to 31/2 inches to 5 inches for both male and female, though the maximum size of 5.4 inches has also been recorded. Spotted turtles usually thrive in low to mid 80â€™s air temperature and the water temperature should be low 70â€™s. Their basking temperature should be around 95 degrees.
Marshes, slow streams, ponds, swamps and wet meadows are some of the low-lying wetlands where they maybe found. The reason they are difficult to sight is that their yellow spots readily mingle with weeds and other plants making them all but invisible other than to extremely keen eyes. The sightings become even rarer during their hibernation period because they lie under the leaves in upland forests.
Adult spotted turtles mate after their hibernation and remain active till fall. The younger spotted turtles like to eat worms like red wigglers or small night crawlers. Worms are also eaten by the turtle hatchings. As they grow older, they like eating a more varied diet which includes aquatic vegetation like â€˜anarchisâ€™, worms and insects like crickets. Their eating habits differ during hibernation.
When they are in the dormant stage, they eat mostly worms. But, when they come out of hibernation, they enjoy consuming snails, crayfish, aquatic plants and sometimes even algae. Although most of the food is eaten in water, sometimes adults upon finding worms on land will first pull them in water and then consume them.
Spotted turtles are not very good swimmers because they have small webbed feet and they love to bask on land without going into water all the time.
A captive turtle will require a habitat as close to its wild habitat as possible. For this, land and water area has to be equal and should have aquatic plants, driftwood, rock and dirt. Since it is not a good swimmer, the water depth should not be more than 6 inches. A basking spot is essential because spotted turtles like to bask on land.
Spotted turtles produce small clutches of eggs and their hatching success is not very good. This makes them difficult to recover if their nests are attacked by raccoons. Pollution and human interference also play a large role in their declining recovery. They become especially vulnerable to outside interference when they gather in large numbers during spring and fall.
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