3-Year-Old Female Spotted Turtle Discovered in Abandoned SouthCoast Cranberry Bog

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3-Year-Old Juvenile Female Spotted Turtle

Turtle Journal discovered an adorable three-year-old female spotted turtle basking on the water surface in an abandoned cranberry bog on the SouthCoast of Massachusetts.  As we patrolled the bog in search of mating spotted turtles mid-morning, we found instead this tiny juvenile.

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John Adams Gold Dollar Vs 3-Year-Old Spotted Turtle

“How tiny,” you may ask?  This cutie’s carapace measured only 6.28 centimeters (2½ inches) long and 5.37 centimeters (2.1 inches) wide.  Her plastron stretched 5.65 centimeters (2.2 inches) long and 3.615 centimeters (1.4 inch) wide behind the bridge.  She weighed 42 grams (1½ ounce).  The John Adams gold dollar coin gives a rough approximation of her size.

Examination of Juvenile Female Spotted Turtle

We noted that this beauty sported a brightly colored orange neck, demonstrating the sexual dichromatic characteristic of the spotted turtle species.  Males show a drab gray or brown chin and turtleneck.

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3-Year-Old Juvenile Female Spotted Turtle

Our sweet young female had two scutal anomalies on her carapace.  The third vertebral showed a split in the upper left corner and she had five right costals instead of the normal four.

Clumsy Juvenile Spotted Turtle Released

Another trait she shared with other spotted turtles that we have documented re-entering the bog after release was clumsiness.  We often watch as spotted turtles tumble and somersault down the bog bank, often tripping head over heal before entry into the water.  Today proved no exception to the rule.

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3-year-Old Juvenile Female Spotted Turtle

Turtle Journal is always pleased to find new recruits to an isolated turtle population.  We are especially pleased to find one so cute as this gorgeous three-year-old female, a turtle that offers hope for the future of this small population (a dozen or so) of spotted turtles in an old cranberry bog that has been abandoned for more than a decade.

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