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Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory.
- Contact information
- For information on Wisconsin's rare animals, contact:
- Rich Staffen
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
Wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta), a Threatened Species in Wisconsin, prefer rivers and streams with adjacent riparian wetlands and upland deciduous forests. This species often forages in open wet meadows or in shrub-carr habitats dominated by speckled alder. They overwinter in streams and rivers in deep holes or undercut banks where there is enough water flow to prevent freezing. This semi-terrestrial species typically remains within 300 m (984 ft) of rivers and streams. This species becomes active in spring as soon as the ice is gone and air temperatures reach around 50° F, which can occur as early as mid-March. They may remain active into late October but have been seen breeding under the ice. Wood turtles can breed at any time of year, but breeding primarily occurs during the spring or fall. Nesting usually begins in late May in southern WI and early June in northern WI and continues through June. This species nests in open or semi-open canopy areas containing gravel or sandy soils, typically within 61 m (200 ft) of the water. Hatching occurs in 55-75 days (mid-July through mid-September) depending on air temperatures. This species does not overwinter in nests, unlike some other Wisconsin turtle species.
See the species guidance document for avoidance measures and management guidance from the Natural Heritage Conservation Program.
Broad Incidental Take Permit
For avoidance during common activities, see the Wood Turtle Broad Incidental Take Permit.
Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin
The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.
Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.
|Federal Status in Wisconsin||SOC|
|Tracked by NHI||Y|
This document contains identification and life history information for Wood Turtle. It also describes how to screen projects for potential impact to this species, lists avoidance measures, and provides general management guidance. For avoidance during common activities, see the Wood Turtle Broad Incidental Take Permit.
Links to additional Wood Turtle information
- Wood Turtle Broad Incidental Take Permit for Common Activities
- Wood Turtle Status Assessment and Conservation Strategy
- Wood Turtle Research Project (2013–2015)
- Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Other links related to reptiles
Wildlife Action Plan
Native community (habitat) associations
The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Wood Turtle. Only natural communities for which Wood Turtle is "significantly" (score=3) or "moderately" (score=2) associated are shown. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.
Ecological landscape associations
The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Wood Turtle. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.
Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*
Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.
* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.
Threats and Conservation actions
Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.