[ More WI Wildlife ]
By: Tanya Rothe
There are around 11 different varieties of turtles in the state of Wisconsin. Turtles have been known to be the longest living creature on the planet. Many have lived over 100 years of age. All turtles are considered cold blooded with their only heat source being the sun. The turtle species that you will most often see over the others in Wisconsin is the painted turtle. They are the most common and can be found in or near water. The turtles of Wisconsin take up 4 of the total turtle families including mud & musk, snapping, box & water, and soft shells. There is only one completely land inhabiting turtle in Wisconsin and that is the Ornate Box Turtle.
Photos & Pictures of Wisconsin Turtles
Wisconsin Snapping Turtle located in Big Flats Township, Adams County found by a watery ditch.
An interesting fact is that 10 out of the 11 different types of turtles in Wisconsin actually spend their time during the Winter season under water either under the bottom of the dirt or right on top of it. They start resurfacing to the land once it is at least 50 degrees out. Also, the turtles in Wisconsin have shells on their bodies that are made up of around 60 different bones. This helps protect them for weather conditions and predators. One thing that you will find out about turtles in this state is that they have a thick, scaly skin that helps to keep water from entering their body. Like snakes, Wisconsin turtles also shed their skins annually. The easiest and most common places you will find turtles are on floating logs and other objects in the water.
- Blanding’s Turtle - Emydoidea Blandingii
- Eastern Musk Turtle - Sternotherus Odoratus
- False Map Turtle - Graptemys Pseudogeographica
- Northern Map Turtle - Graptemys Geographica
- Ornate Box Turtle - Terrapene Ornata
- Ouachita Map Turtle - Graptemys Ouachitensis
- Painted Turtle - Chrysemys Picta
- Smooth Softshell - Apalone Mutica
- Snapping Turtle - Chelydra Serpentina
- Spiny Softshell - Apalone Spinifera
- Wood Turtle - Glyptemys Insculpta
Interesting Wisconsin Turtle Facts
- Name: Wisconsin Turtles
- Habitat: On land and in water, 1 species is completely on land.
- Diet: water vegetation, algae, and smaller water creatures
- Behavior: sunbathe most of the day, very slow moving on land, stay under water during winter season.
- Reproduction: lay eggs on land, dig nests in ground, some nest twice a year, small turtles lay 3-5 eggs and larger lay 30-80 eggs.
- Predators: habitat loss, humans, automobiles, cats, dogs, raccoons, skunks, and coyotes.
- Life Expectancy: up to 100 years or more.