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Wood Turtle

Glyptemys (Clemmys) insculpta

  • Family: Emydidae
  • Adult Size: Average 5 to 9 inches.
  • Range: Northeastern United States and into Canada.
  • Habitat: Semi-aquatic. Generally found in or near rivers, streams and lakes.
  • Captive Lifespan: More than 20 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Intermediate


Wood turtles are largely terrestrial species. Because of habitat degradation, collecting for the pet industry and predation, the wood turtle populations have dwindled rapidly. Wood turtles are now protected by law from collection over virtually their entire ranges.

Adequate space is important. One or two small turtles could properly live in at least a 40 gallon breeder size tank, but more space is always preferable. Cleanliness is essential for the health of the turtles. Enclosures should be cleaned frequently. For haulout areas, a few limb sections wedged into place and protruding well above the water in the center of the tank are ideal in most cases.

Warmth--especially in the form of a basking area--is very important. Most turtles enjoy basking temperatures ranging from 84 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperatures between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are fine. Vitamin D and calcium supplements, used in conjunction with full-spectrum lighting, will give turtles a better chance at good health.

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