Testudines

Field Guide to Maryland's Turtles (Order Testudines)


Spotted Turtle

Family: Box and Water Turtles (Family Emydidae)

Common Name:

​Spotted Turtle


Scientific Name:

Clemmys guttata


Photo of Spotted Turtle courtesy of Tony Prochaska. 

Photo of Spotted Turtle courtesy of Tony Prochaska.


Size:
3½ - 4½ inches. Record - 5 inches

Appearance:
  • Diagnostic feature is a variable number of yellow or orange spots on a black carapace (top shell).
  • Spots may be lacking or very faded on some individuals.
  • The carapace is smooth, keel-less, broad and slightly domed.
  • Males have brown eyes, while females eyes are orange.

Photo of Spotted Turtle courtesy of Scott A. Smith.
Photo of Spotted Turtle courtesy of Scott A. Smith.


Habitats:

A wide variety of shallow wetlands are used including wet meadows, freshwater marshes, bogs, swamps, small ponds, ditches, small woodland streams, Delmarva Bays and tidally influenced brackish streams. All typically have a soft substrate and some aquatic or emergent vegetation. They also seasonally spend time away from water, typically in woodlands, pastures and fields.


How to Find:

Search shallow wetland edges during the day, particularly those dominated by herbaceous vegetation. Look for basking individuals in the morning. Easiest to find mid-April through June, though active until October.

Photo of Habitat for Spotted Turtle courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers.
Photo of Habitat for Spotted Turtle
courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers.


Distribution in Maryland:

Found throughout Maryland.

Maryland Distribution Map for Spotted Turtle