• Peak Breeding Activity: early spring
• Litter Size: 3-4 eggs
• Typical Foods: plant and animal matter taken underwater
• Ohio Status: Threatened
A small (less than six inches) black turtle with distinctive yellow spots on the carapace (top of shell). The head of the spotted turtle is often colorfully adorned with reddish-orange to yellow blotches on the sides and chin. The forearms may also be bright orange. The plastron (bottom of the shell) is yellowish-tan with dark markings.
Habitat and Habits
This handsome turtle shows a marked preference for the shallow, sluggish waters of ditches, small streams, marshes, bogs, and pond edges, especially where vegetation is abundant. It occasionally wanders away from water and lives in wet woods and meadows. The spotted turtle is most frequently observed in early spring, basking along stream or pond banks, or on objects protruding from the water. When disturbed it may quickly dive for safety or it may leisurely walk into the water and swim to the bottom, where it may remain motionless, burrow into the muck, or crawl beneath some sheltering object such as a submerged log.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
The reproductive biology of turtles is fascinating. With the exception of softshell turtles, the sex of all species of Ohio turtles is dependent on the temperature at which the eggs develop. For instance, snapping turtle eggs that develop at about 77oF will all hatch out as males, while eggs that develop at much higher or lower temperatures will all hatch out as females. In the wild, warmer eggs at the top of a nest may all hatch out as females, while cooler eggs at the bottom hatch out as males.