Monday, June 28, 2010

Handsome fellow

My son and I rescued a handsome fellow from a very busy street. He was just sitting in the middle of the road, pulled in and scared. We stopped to help him along and something told me to pick him up. It turns out he is a pretty good sized male 
Wood turtle, Clemmys insculpta.

My violin teacher, Jane, alias, 'turtle freak',
was so excited when I told her why we were late for lessons.

He is so beautifully colored. Males have a concave shell and longer claws. Wood turtles have shells that look very engraved and pyramidal. They don't usually get this big, they typically grow to 5-8 inches. They eat berries, tender vegetables, insects, grubs, worms and snails. Their shells aren't hinged so they can't pull their legs or tail in too far. You can count the scutes on a wood turtle to calculate its age, just like the rings of a tree. Our guy is 13 or 14 years old. The place that I found him is being rapidly developed so we decided to let him go on our farm. We have the perfect habitat, slow moving, sandy bottomed streams, woodland fields and only one or two cars a day, at most!

Jane said that she has seen two in all of her years. Bob, our mountain man friend who spends weeks in the woods has never seen one his whole life....

They are considered a friendly, nice turtle. Not feisty like a snapper... When Jane and I were flipping through some books we read in the Anna Botsford Comstock's book, "This is one of our most common turtles." She wrote her Handbook of Nature Study in 1911. In the E. Laurence Palmer, Fieldbook of Natural History written in 1949, it said that they are not as common as they once were and now, the NH Fish and Game considers the Wood turtle a species of special concern...

One handsome guy made it.


  1. He's beautiful....and now lives in paradise!

  2. You are the best! Rescuing turtles and farms...what can't you do?

  3. Hooray! We stop to help turtles too. He is really lovely.

  4. So happy to hear that he has found a new home with you!