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Turtles of Wisconsin

What's on the Menu?

turtle about to eat

A painted turtle is about to eat a mayfly - yum!

Turtles are toothless. They have sharp, horny beaks, kind of like a bird beak. They can grab and slice food. They usually feed on plants or on slow-moving prey like earthworms, slugs, snails, or insect larvae. They have a keen sense of smell and for some turtles, color, especially red. When they find prey, they typically feed by seizing it and swallowing it whole, or they take their powerful foreclaws and tear the food up. Well-camouflaged snapping turtles will often sit quietly at the bottom of ponds, lakes or streams, and when an unsuspecting fish or other prey wanders too close, these turtles use their powerful necks to strike out while opeing their mouths. This creates a vacuum that sucks the food into their mouths.

Turtles don't feed much when the water temperature is below 65 degrees. This means that many turtles, especially in northern Wisconsin, may not feed for a period that equals a normal school year (September - early June). This makes for a very short growing season for turtles.

Next Page - Threats to Wisconsin Turtles >>



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