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Bog Turtle (Muhlenberg’s Turtle)

The bog turtle is a small turtle primarily found in acidic wetlands. It’s binomial name is Glyptemys muhlenbergii, and can live for up to 40+ years.

  • Family: Emydidae
  • Genus: Glyptemys
  • Scientific Name: Glyptemys muhlenbergii
  • Other Names: Muhlenberg’s Turtle
  • Aquatic/Land: Semi Aquatic
  • Size: 3.5 – 5 inches long
  • Color: Brown shell with orange splash spots on neck
  • Conservation Status: Endangered

Bog Turtle Facts

Weighing approximately 110 grams, bog turtle is the smallest species of turtle in North America. A mature male bog turtle has an average length of 3.7 inches while the female has an average length of 3.5 inches. The carapace is rectangular in shape and is narrower at the head and wider at the tail. The carapace has visible rings on the rough scales.

Bog Turtle Color

Bog Turtle On Leaf

The shell is black in color. The turtle’s skin is also black while the inside of the legs has an orange-red wash. It has a yellow spot on each side of its neck while the head is dark brown to black.

How long does a bog turtle live?

The bog turtle has a lifespan of 40 years and is ideal for someone who is looking for a lifelong companion.

Where are Bog turtles found

The bog turtles derive their name from their habitat. They are found in bogs, acidic wetlands, alkaline wetlands and wet meadows. There are found in New York, Connecticut, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, South and North Carolina.

Is the bog turtle an aquatic turtle?

The bog turtle is semi-aquatic meaning that they can survive on both land and sea. They are not the best swimmers and only swims for short distances.

They are heavy baskers just like most turtles. They bask to sustain their body temperature. Basking is a form of thermo-regulation that enables them to control metabolic processes.

What do bog turtles eat?

Bog turtles are omnivorous in nature and eat aquatic plants such as duckweed. They also eat snails, slugs, insects, earthworms, and other invertebrates. They occasional eat berries and seeds. Bog turtles generally enjoy eating insects and it is one of their most important foods.

Bog Turtle Predators

Bog turtles are preyed upon by carnivorous pets such as dogs, cats, and raccoons. Some parasitic flies plague upon these turtles which causes blood loss and weakness. Their shell offers little protection to these predators. They are also susceptible to bacterial infections which cause pneumonia.

Breeding of Bog Turtles

Bog Turtle Habitat

The turtle attains sexual maturity at the age of 5 to 8 years. Their breeding period is between late spring and early summer. Female bog turtles lay 2 to 3 eggs that hatch in late third quarter of the year. Basking helps these turtles to incubate their eggs.

Hatchlings should be given special attention as they are week within the first three weeks. They should be kept in water with depth of less than 2 inches. Floating plants should be used to improve the survival chances of the turtle.

The bog turtle is one of the turtle species that is facing extinction. If you currently own a bog turtle, give it proper care so that you can help preserve this fascinating turtle. This includes keeping it in correcting housing, environment, temperature, and correct nutrition, among others.

Why is the bog turtle endangered?

Development like roads, homes and more is a threat to the bog turtle and its environment. Due to people take them home as pets which reduces their population in the wild.

How are bog turtles important for the environment?

Bog turtles serve as an indicator for wetlands. If there are any issues with the vegetation community and bog turtles are leaving their home, then it can show a sign of an issue.

Wrapping Up

The bog turtle is a very small and cute turtle, but if you are looking to get one you should avoid taking them from the wild as they are a threatened species.

If you really want one, first be sure to understand that this is a large commitment time wise since they can live up to 40 years! Next you should seek out a breeder who has bred them in captivity.

We hope this helps, let us know your thoughts in the comment section!

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Amy Hibbs

Saturday 3rd of April 2021

I agree with Jennifer! While it’s necessary to acknowledge that some people might have them as pets, all emphasis should be on their critically endangered status— they belong in the wild! Without cultivating a mindset of conservation and respect their future will be harder to secure. That said, I totally enjoyed this piece and loved learning about the Bog Turtles!! Keep it up!!


Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

I was quite alarmed to read the comments in this post in regards to the bog turtle being an ideal pet and giving advice to seek out a breeder. These are critically endangered species and it is illegal to breed them or sell them or keep them as pets! The post mentions their endangered status but then states "is ideal for someone who is looking for a lifelong companion". This entire post should be removed as it seems more like an instructional post on how to care for a bog turtle.

Brock Yates

Thursday 4th of March 2021

Thanks for the feedback. We will look into it.