5 Types of Turtles Found in Virginia: A Guide to Identify Them

Turtles are fascinating creatures that can be found in various habitats in Virginia, including ponds, lakes, rivers, and forests. There are different types of turtles found in Virginia, each with unique characteristics and adaptations. Here are the 5 types of turtles found in Virginia:

1. Eastern Box Turtle

The Eastern box turtle is a terrestrial turtle that is commonly found in Virginia. It has a domed shell that is usually brown or black with yellow or orange patterns. It can grow up to 8 inches in length and has a lifespan of up to 100 years. The Eastern box turtle is a slow-moving turtle that is often seen on forest floors and in backyards.

2. Common Snapping Turtle

The common snapping turtle is a large and aggressive turtle that is found in Virginia’s rivers and lakes. It has a powerful jaw and sharp claws that it uses for defense and hunting. It has a rough, dark shell and can grow up to 20 inches in length. The common snapping turtle is known for its strong swimming abilities and can be found basking on logs or rocks.

3. Painted Turtle

The painted turtle is a colorful turtle that is found in Virginia’s ponds and lakes. It has a smooth, olive-colored shell with red or yellow markings on its neck, legs, and tail. It can grow up to 8 inches in length and is known for its ability to bask in the sun for hours. The painted turtle is an omnivore that feeds on insects, plants, and small animals.

4. Red-Eared Slider

The red-eared slider is a popular turtle that is often kept as a pet in Virginia. It has a smooth, olive-colored shell with red markings on its ears. It can grow up to 12 inches in length and is known for its friendly and curious behavior. The red-eared slider is an omnivore that feeds on insects, plants, and small animals.

5. Spotted Turtle

The spotted turtle is a small and colorful turtle that is found in Virginia’s wetlands and swamps. It has a black shell with yellow spots and a bright orange or red head. It can grow up to 5 inches in length and is known for its shy and elusive behavior. The spotted turtle is an omnivore that feeds on insects, plants, and small animals.

When identifying turtles in Virginia, it’s important to consider their physical characteristics, habitat, and behavior. If you encounter a turtle in the wild, be sure to admire it from a safe distance and avoid disturbing it or its habitat.