Wood Turtle

2023 May 29

Sandy and Sam were out canoeing on the Sturgeon River this morning (May, 29, 2023), and Sam spotted this excellent turtle on the beach. She was pretty good size, here is a picture of her with Sam for scale.

There are only about five species of turtle that live in the UP, and this is one that we hadn’t seen before. She’s a Wood_turtle, Glyptemys insculpta. The yellow underside with big black splotches is distinctive,

as is the yellow ring around the neck.

These turtles prefer streams with stone-cobble bottoms and sandy beaches, which describes the Sturgeon River perfectly. Unfortunately, these are the exact sorts of streams that are most likely to be damaged by agricultural runoff, pollution, and general development, and so these turtles are being considered for Endangered Species status. The Sturgeon River is still in pretty nearly pristine condition compared to a lot of other rivers, and likely to remain so, and so with any luck the turtle population in this river, at least, will be stable for some time.

Anyway, the reason I’ve been referring to this turtle as “she” is because it is likely she was looking for a good place to lay eggs on the sandy beach. Sam didn’t disturb her for very long, so presumably she is going about her business even as I write this.

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