Baby Wood Turtles: A 2019 Highlight

While adult turtles have very high survival rates from year to year and can live exceptionally long times, the life expectancy of a hatchling is very short. Indeed, most turtle nests don’t survive (nest failure rates are often greater than 90%), and out of the small percentage of hatchlings that do make it to the […]

On Snails and Slugs: A Wood Turtle’s Perspective

Years ago when I first encountered a Wood Turtle with a viscous brown goo oozing out of its mouth I thought something was wrong. Generally speaking, whenever a turtle has a runny nose, eyes, or slime coming from its mouth it is bad news, and a disease pathologist I sent some pictures to suggested the […]

On Myths and Milksnakes

One of the most common, yet misidentified, snakes in Northern New England is the Eastern Milksnake. Unlike species such as Northern Watersnakes, which are often confused for similarly-patterned Copperheads or Cottonmouths, the Milksnake is mistaken not only for Timber Rattlesnakes, but also another venomous species that doesn’t actually exist: the “checkered” or “spotted adder”. Early […]

Smooth Turtle Leeches

Few aquatic organisms in freshwater environments elicit such strong negative reactions as a leech. They are gross, slimy, bloodsuckers and they creep people out. For those willing to dig a little deeper into their biology, however, leeches are very fascinating animals. For starters, leeches are hermaphroditic and some provide parental care to their young. Then […]

Varied Habitats Key to Wood Turtle Success

Looking down into many river valleys in Northern New England you’ll see forested mountains, rolling hills comprised of 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 within such a view (apart from the stream), but a […]