Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Spotted Turtle

Clemmys guttata

The spotted turtle is identified by the round yellow spots on its broad, smooth, black or brownish black shell. It has a carapace (top shell) length ranging from 3.5 to 5.4 inches.

Range & Habitat

Spotted turtles range from southern Maine and extreme southern Ontario west to Illinois and south to northern Florida in the east. Isolated colonies can be found in southern Quebec, central Georgia and north central Florida.

Conservation Status: Endangered

Loss of habitat has been largely responsible for the major decline of the spotted turtle. This turtle is very sensitive to pollution and toxins and disappears rapidly with declining water quality.


In the Wild -- Ranges from aquatic vegetation to larval amphibians, slugs, snails, crayfish, insects, spiders, worms and carrion.

At the Zoo: aquatic carnivore diet (meat, fish, gelatin mix), pinkie mice, crickets, fruit.

Life Span

In the Wild – 25-30 years; In Human Care – 25-30 years, maximum of 50 years.

Fun Facts about the Spotted Turtle

  •  No two spotted turtles ever have the same pattern of spots.
  •  The gender of turtle hatchlings is determined by nest temperature. Cooler temperatures produce mostly males, while warmer temperatures produce females.


Department of Environmental Conservation, Spotted Turtle Fact Sheet. Retrieved May 22, 2006, from New York State Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project Web site:

Harding, J. 2002. "Clemmys guttata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 22, 2006 at

Michigan State University Extension, (2004). Clemmys guttata. Retrieved May 22, 2006, from Michigan National Features Inventory Web site:

National Wildlife Federation, Spotted Turtle Clemmys guttata. Retrieved May 22, 2006, from e Nature America's Wildlife Resource Web site: ext=clemmys%20guttata&curGrou pID=7&lgfromWhere=&curPageNum

Updated June 13, 2023
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