Life History of Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center’s Wood Turtle
Carpenter Nature Center’s Wood Turtle was part of a breeding program in Nebraska. He was hatched in 2004 and adopted by the Carpenter Nature Center education team. We believe the turtle is a male due to its concave plastron (underside of its shell). Carpenter Nature Center’s turtle is a wonderful ambassador, teaching thousands of visitors every year about our natural environment and the diversity of wildlife life found in our region. Our turtle will live a comfortable life with humans, as it is provided with all the food it needs and safety from predators. It may live to be well over 40 years old.
The Wood Turtle is declining throughout much of its range due primarily to human activities. Wood Turtles have been hunted for food, collected for the pet trade, poached, shot for fun and run over by cars. Human activities also destroy or damage much of the turtle’s riparian habitats by changing stream and river habitats through intensive forestry practices as well as agricultural, industrial and residential development. Like most hatchlings, the young turtle have a low survival rate due to predation. The fact that Wood Turtles do not reach reproductive maturity until they are at least 14 years old makes the species even more susceptible to extirpation. The best things you can do to help Wood Turtles is to report any Wood Turtles you find to your local DNR office, help protect natural habitat along streams and rivers and share what you have learned about Wood Turtles with others.
The oldest Wood Turtle fossil dates back six million years. The fossil was found in Nebraska by Mr. Tucker and Dr. Voorhies of the University of Nebraska.