Meet the spotted turtle

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Meet the spotted turtle

Spotted turtles, fondly known as Spotties, are distinguished by bright yellow spots against a dark shell, much like the glow of fireflies you may see on a summer evening. Though their spots appear perfectly placed, no two turtles are the same, making spot placement a way for researchers to identify individual turtles. Populations of these small freshwater turtles can be found across eastern North America, from Canada to Florida, as well as in the southeastern Great Lakes. A population may be living near you – a rare thing for most turtles!

Spotted turtles thrive in very different ecological regions throughout their range, adapting to local climate conditions and food availability. While they spend most of their time in and around aquatic habitats, spotted turtles navigate on land to nest or move between ponds to access new foods or mates.

Spotted turtles have the ability to enter a period of estivation during unfavorable climate conditions – a survival tactic in which they slow their metabolic rate to the point of dormancy. Spotted turtles’ remarkable adaptability to different climates has enabled them to maintain their historical distribution through many periods of major global climate change!

Oscar, son of ARC Project Managers Ben Morrison and Sydney Sheedy, holding a spotted turtle

The beauty and resilience of the spotted turtle are inspiring and worth protecting – and you are an integral part of that! As adaptable as these turtles are, they are still threatened by a range of issues and in need of our support. In our upcoming newsletters, we dive into the conservation challenges these turtles face and the work ARC is doing to protect them in the wild.

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