In the Wild - The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Bog Turtle: Clemmys muhlenbergii
In the Wild
 Size: Small, reach up to 4 inches long
 Weight: Up to 5 ounces (less than a baseball)
 Black-skinned turtle with telltale orange patches on either side of its head
Habitat and Range:
 Isolated colonies along U.S. eastern seaboard from New York to Georgia
 Saturated, usually spring-fed wetlands such as bogs, fens, wet meadows, sedge marches
and older spruce swamps
 Prefer relatively open wetlands with slowly flowing streams, rivulets or surface
seepages. These wetlands are usually dominated by clumps of grasses and sedges, and
have soft muddy bottoms.
Omnivorous: Eat seeds, berries, vegetation, insects, slugs, worms, crayfish, frogs,
snakes, snails, carrion
 Powerful, bony jaws for catching prey
 Coloration is useful for camouflage
 Like other turtles, shell provides protection from predators
 Uses hind feet for swimming and claws for digging in the mud
 In the wild: Unknown
 Captivity: 40 years or more
Ecosystem relationships
 Predators: Raccoons, foxes, skunks and dogs
 Bog turtles mate primarily in the spring but sometimes in the fall
 Females build their nests and lay their eggs in late spring and early summer, mostly
during the month of June
 Each female normally lays one clutch of 1-6 eggs per year
 Female chooses a sunny spot, and the eggs incubate for 45-65 days
 The baby turtles hatch in early fall and may spend their first winter in their nests before
emerging the following spring
 No parental care – once hatched, baby turtles are on their own
Bog Turtle: Clemmys muhlenbergii
 Diurnal – hunt and forage during the day but are not readily visible because they often
hide under vegetation
 Active during the warmer months of the year
 Hibernate for about half the year during the colder months
o When they are ready to hibernate in the fall, they bury themselves in the mud
Other “fun facts”
 Although one-third of all bog turtles live in Maryland, few people ever see one in the
wild because they inhabit inaccessible wetlands and are shy by nature. They spend
nearly half the year buried in mud!
Conservation Status and Threats:
 Listed as threatened both Federally and in Maryland
 Only half as many bog turtles live in Maryland now as in 1980 and they are considered a
threatened species
 Primary threat is habitat los
 Also threatened by the illegal pet trade
At the Zoo
Wade was hatched at the Maryland Zoo in 2003 and donated to the education
department the same year
In 2010, he weighed approximately 100 grams (3 ounces)
At the Zoo he eats fish, insects and worms
What We Can Do
Many organizations are working with private landowners to help restore and protect
bog turtle habitat
Support the conservation efforts of organizations such as the Maryland Zoo and The
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Tread carefully when visiting wetlands – stick to dedicated paths to avoid disturbing
Make environmentally responsible lifestyle decisions to help conserve habitat –
conserve energy, reduce litter and pollution
Do your research before buying a pet
o Make sure you are not purchasing a wild-caught individual. Captive-bred turtle
species are often easy to find.
o Make sure you know how to properly care for any animal before you decide to
buy it as a pet
 Some things to consider include adequate housing, diet, temperature
requirements and lifespan
 Some pets also require a lot of time and money to be properly cared for
Bog Turtle: Clemmys muhlenbergii