One of the rarest and smallest turtles in North America, bog turtles live in freshwater bogs, fens, wet meadows, marshes, spring seeps and wet cow pastures in northern Maryland and other Atlantic seaboard states. From mid-autumn to early spring, the turtles hibernate for approximately six months.
Reaching a maximum shell length of only 4.25 inches, the turtles are recognizable by large patches of yellow or orange on both sides of their heads. The turtles generally feed on berries and insects, which are plentiful in their preferred habitat, wetlands that are spring-fed with saturated soils and small amounts of running water.
These cold blooded animals can live for over 40 years; presently, however, the bog turtle is on the Federal Endangered Species List and is listed as "Threatened" in seven states including Maryland due to predators such as raccoons, foxes, skunks and dogs, the urbanization of their natural habitats and their use in the pet trade.
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Photograph courtesy of John White