This field season, staff from the Minnesota Biological Survey (MBS) and the Nongame Wildlife Program have been surveying for wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta), a MN threatened species. This work is being done as part of the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). In May, the MBS herpetology team located two wood turtles in Goodhue County- the first known records for the county since 1999! Both individuals are quite old as each turtle is estimated to be at least 20.
Why is the wood turtle a threatened species?
Raccoons and skunks are the main predators for eggs and hatchlings. Other threats to the wood turtle include loss of habitat, capture for the pet trade, and road fatalities. Now is the time to watch for all species of turtles crossing roads as the females search for suitable nesting habitat. It's best to allow turtles to cross roads on their own but if they are in danger you can move them off of the road in the direction that they were headed. Always remember not to put yourself in danger while assisting turtles off the road. For more information about threats to turtles, helping turtles cross the road, and more, check out this turtle poster and this turtle web page!