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Wood turtle conservation strategy

  • ##Adult wood turtles, which live in streams in late fall and winter and on land in spring and summer, are long-lived, late maturing species. Females do not lay eggs until they are 14- to 18-years old. Their late maturity makes it harder for them to come back from population declines. Photo credit: Rori Paloski
  • ##Adult turtles nest on sandy soils and typically lay one clutch of eggs a year, although they do not lay eggs every year. Each clutch has three to 17 eggs in Wisconsin. Hatchlings emerge from the nest in Wisconsin in August through October. Photo credit: Andrew Badje
  • ##Wood turtle eggs and young hatchlings are easy prey for raccoons and other predators. This night vision camera recorded a raccoon patrolling a turtle nest site in northern Wisconsin. Photo credit: Carly Lapin
  • ##We know about more wood turtle populations than we used to. Through targeted surveys, other research, and data submitted by partners, DNR has documented significantly more wood turtle populations in Wisconsin than when the species was listed as endangered in 1975, and then reclassified as threatened in 1982. Graphic credit: Drew Feldkirchner
  • ##Recent DNR research in northern Wisconsin placed transmitters on several dozen turtles and used geolocators to track where and how far the turtles moved. One turtle moved 3 miles in 2 days. Photo credit: Drew Feldkirchner
  • ##Protecting nests from predators is one major strategy of DNR's statewide conservation strategy for wood turtles. A DNR study of wood turtles in 2014 and 2015 found placing cages over turtle nests increased the survival of eggs and hatchlings significantly. Photo credit: Rori Paloski
  • ##Citizen reports of turtle road crossings through the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program have spurred signage and other actions to make road crossings safer for wood turtles. Photo credit: Andrew Badje
  • ##DNR research has also found success in reducing road mortality and increasing nesting success by steering nest site creation and restoration, shown here, away from roads. Photo credit: Michele Woodford

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Last Revised: Friday, December 09, 2022