The shell of the Wood turtle is grooved with concentric growth rings and radiating striations. This along with the dark brown colouration give the shell the appearance of a piece of wood hence the turtles name.

It is semi-terrestrial, spending time on land during the summer months inhabiting fields and forests near streams, and returning to streams and rivers in fall hibernates over winter. Mating also occurs in the water.

Wood turtles in Ontario are in decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as illegal collection for the pet trade. Listed as endangered in Ontario, and threatened federally, the species and its habitat are protected in Ontario under the Endangered Species Act.

Wood Turtle photo: R Dolson