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Bog Turtles Are Endangered Species

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Bog turtles were federally outlined as an endangered species in the 1997. At an approximate length of 4 inches, bog turtles are among the smallest turtles in North America. The bog turtle species characteristically show an orange, red blotch or bright yellow on both side of its head. The parallel sides of the carapace provide bog turtles with an oblong appearance with an above view. The bog turtles are semi-aquatic and devour a diverse diet that includes snails, carrion, insects, worms, and seeds. The bog turtle usually occurs in discrete small populations, commonly inhabiting open-canopy, meadows that are herbaceous sedge and wooded fence bordered areas (Morse, 1906). These marshlands are assortments of the micro-habitats which include saturated areas, dry pockets and areas which are occasionally flooded. Usually, bog turtles depend on this assortment of micro-habitats for nesting basking, foraging, sheltering and hibernating. The in-fragmented riparian systems, which are adequately dynamic to permit the natural establishment of open habitation, are required to balance the ecological succession. Deer, cattle and beaver may be influential in retaining the open-canopy swamplands necessary for the bog turtles’ survival and existence.

According to United States Wildlife and Fish Service, (2001), the bog turtle inhabits open, scrub/shrub and unpolluted emergent wetland, for example sphagnum bogs, low spring-fed fenlands, marshy meadows, swamps and wet pastures. The habitat is characterized by spongy muddy bottoms, dry pockets and interspersed wet, vegetation subjugated by sedges and low grasses with water at a low level either slow-moving or standing that frequently forms a net of rivulets and shallow pools. The bog turtle prefers regions with sufficient sunlight, high level evaporation rates, high level humidity on the surrounding soil microclimate, and recurrent saturation of segments of the land. Regularly, the bog turtle lays its eggs in high areas, for example tussocks the tops. Generally, bog turtles withdraw into more heavily vegetated regions to overwinter from mid of September to mid of April. The biggest threat to bog turtles is the degradation, fragmentation and loss of the habitat due to wetland alteration, pollution development, innate vegetation succession, and invasive species. Bog turtles species is as well threatened by collected illegal wildlife traffic (United States Wildlife and Fish Service, 2001). 

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