Varied Habitats Key to Wood Turtle Success

Looking down into many river valleys in Northern New England you’ll see forested mountains, rolling hills with patches of woods and dotted hay fields and pasture, and extensive floodplain wetlands with a clear, gravel bottom stream meandering through the middle. Wood Turtles don’t necessarily need access to absolutely everything such a view (apart from the […]

August Photo of the Month

Female Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) found on the forest floor in Northeastern Vermont. She was hit by a car in May and is now being tracked with radio telemetry so the progress of her recovery can be monitored. 

Tracking Scarce Turtles

One of the more challenging aspects of surveying for Wood Turtles is that they are so darn good at hiding, and they hide most of the time. Couple that with the fact that they roam thousands of feet from water to forage and are an uncommon species with a patchy distribution and it’s no surprise […]

Miranda’s Second Chance

Roads are bad news for turtles, especially during the late spring when most turtles leave the water to lay their eggs. For species that forage on land, such as Wood Turtles, the problem is far worse. During the summer, Wood Turtles roam fertile floodplains in search of food, sometimes ending up more than several thousand […]

A Declining Species

Amphibians are among the most imperiled animals on earth, with almost half of all species declining, and, according to a new UN report, about 40% are now at risk of extinction. Some estimates are that the current rate of amphibian extinctions range anywhere from 211 to over 45,000 times faster than what is considered “normal” […]

Species Spotlight: Eastern Musk Turtle

Eastern Musk Turtles go by a few different names, but they all mean the same thing. Some folk call them stinkpots, and among academic circles their scientific name, Sternotherus odoratus, is just as common. The clear sense you should be getting from all three of these names is that musk turtles are pretty smelly, but […]

Why Do Species Live Where They Do and Not Where They Don’t?

Growing up in the southern Champlain Valley of Vermont, I knew there were Spring Salamanders in the state, and always hoped to find one in the one of the many small streams scattered across the landscape. Topping off around 7 inches in length and with bright salmon-orange skin, you’d think they’d be easy to find, […]

A Gardener’s Friend: The Secretive Red-bellied Snake

Northern New England is not known for having high reptile and amphibian diversity, yet most people here are amazed to learn how many species we actually have. I’d wager that if you approached someone on the street and asked them to name all the local frogs, salamanders, snakes, and turtles in the area they can […]

Combating Misinformation with Identification Tips and Resources

Like so many other people, I grew up falsely thinking brown recluse spiders are common in Vermont. In actuality, brown recluses don’t live here, and if you look at range maps they don’t even get close. Yet common wisdom here contradicts fact; everybody knows you have to watch out for the brown recluse and you […]

Winter Hideouts

Winter in the Great Northern Forests is not the best time to find reptiles and amphibians in the northeast, to say the least. Many of us who are fond of looking for these animals find other hobbies for the winter, in places where there is a thick cover of snow for months on end. Every […]