Spotted turtleSpotted Turtle

(Clemmys guttata)

NH Conservation Status: Species of Special Concern, Wildlife Action Plan Species in Greatest Need of Conservation. Legally protected in New Hampshire: possession, sale, import, and take (harm, harass, injuring, killing) is illegal.

State Rank Status: Threatened.

Distribution: Southeastern NH.

Description: A small 3-5 inch turtle recognized by numerous yellow spots covering a dark carapace. The number of spots is variable. Spots can also be found on the head and limbs.

Commonly Confused Species: Blanding's turtle.

Habitat: Wetlands with shallow, permanent water bodies and emergent vegetation. Marshes, vernal pools, wet meadows, swamps, ponds, and slow-moving streams and rivers all provide suitable habitats for spotted turtles. Terrestrial habitat used extensively while searching for suitable nesting sites, traveling among wetland habitats, and periods of inactivity during high temperatures.

Life History: From June to July, 2-8 eggs are laid in open meadows, fields, or other disturbed habitats. Hibernates under tree or shrub roots in wetlands or vernal pools.

Conservation Threats: Terrestrial and wetland habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality, collection by humans, and increases in the abundance of subsidized predators (e.g., raccoons).

Distribution map: Click here for a map showing the towns where this species is reported to occur in NH

Spotted turtle
Spotted turtles are small black turtles with yellow spots. © Gail Coffey photo
Spotted turtle close-up
Spotted turtles have a number of bright orange and yellow marks on the head and limbs. © Judi Lindsey Photo
Spotted turtle
Spotted turtles make extensive movements among a variety of wetland and terrestrial habitats. ©Kathy Davis Photo
Spotted turtle hatchlings
Young spotted turtles can be easily recognized by their yellow spots. © John Rockwood Photo
Spotted turtel habitat
Spotted turtles use a variety of wetland habitats including vernal pools, emergent marsh and shrub wetlands, red maple swamps, fens, and slow streams. © Mike Marchand Photo


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NH Fish and Game Dept.
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