Bog turtle needs help
The Bog turtle, a common house pet, is endangered in Connecticut. The greatest cause of population decline: captivity.
Monday, November 16, 2009 - 11:49
Several of the eight species of turtles in Connecticut are endangered, the smallest of which is the Bog turtle. Only 3-3.5 inches in size, Bog turtles are found in scattered colonies in western Connecticut. When hatched, the baby turtles are only one inch long. The mother typically lays about two or three eggs, sometimes up to five, in June. They hatch during the summer, from late July to early September, after 7-8 weeks of incubation.
During the winter, Bog turtles hibernate several feet under the surfce of bogs. They need humidity and mossy cover for the summer months and are very sensitive to environmental change. The turtles are continuously being pushed farther and farther out of their natural habitats, wetlands, which are continuously being filled in and used for newer purposes. Bog turtles have been spotted in five different towns in western Connecticut. They are prey to several larger animals including racoons, foxes, skunks and dogs.
In 1973, the Bog turtle was protected by legislation drafted by the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species. They drafted this act making it illegal to remove bog turtle and their eggs from the wild. The Bog Turtle is currently on the list to become a federally endangered species and is currently federally threatened.
Federal - Endangered Species Act of 1973. State - Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 26-311 and Connecticut Regulation 26-66-14a.
Greatest causes of population decline
1. Inbreeding, due to small, isolated populations from loss of habitat.
2. Capture and captivity. Bog turtles are one of the best known species of turtles to be kept as pets, so here is one place you can help. When looking for your next pet at the store, opt for a gerbil, a hamster or a fish. While many turtles are not officially endangered, their numbers are declining, mostly from capture, followed by the small number of offspring and high numbers of obstacles and predators.
Size: 3-3.5 inches
Life span: Up to 40 years
Identification: A Bog turtle can be identified by the red and orange area on its head and red and yellow on the upper shell
Natural habitat: Western Connecticut -- bogs, marshes, wetlands