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 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 […]

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 […]