Ornate Wood Turtle


ORDER: Testudines

FAMILY: Geoemydidae

GENUS: Rhinoclemmys

SPECIES: pulcherrima manni

DESCRIPTION:
Central American Wood turtles are vibrantly-patterned turtles. Their faces and legs are adorned with thin red lines and swirls of orange, green and black. The shell is moderately elongated in shape, and covered with swirls of orange and yellow with varying degrees of black ocelli (eyespots) on the carapace and with a wash of pink or red on the plastron. The length of a male's shell can reach up to 8 inches, and females can reach about two inches longer. Males can be distinguished from females by the thicker tail and concave plastron (lower shell).

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
This turtle typically makes their home in damp woodlands and scrublands. They usually are found near water and during dry weather will wade and swim in water. They are terrestrial rather than aquatic, meaning they spend most of their time on land instead of the water. Wood turtles can be found throughout Central America. Their range is between Sonora, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

DIET:
Omnivorous. They eat wildflowers, fruit, grasses, fish, worms, and insects.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
20+ years in captivity. Lays several clutches of three to five eggs from May to December. Eggs may be buried in soil or leaf litter. The eggs are elongated and brittle-shelled. The eggs measure 24-32 mm x 37-52 mm. Hatchlings measure from 35 to 50 mm in carapace length.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Also known as the Painted wood turtle, most are generally quite outgoing and curious. They are usually active creatures. They can withstand extremely hot and dry conditions, and have lived in areas with temperatures over 100 degrees F for extended periods of time.

OUR ANIMALS:
The Ornate Wood Turtle is part of our education animal collection and is not on exhibit.

STATUS IN WILD:
Not considered threatened. Collecting (for food and the pet trade) and deforestation are the major threats to this turtle. Their natural predators include crocodiles, birds, and mammals. (IUCN, 1998) This animal has not yet been evaluated by the IUCN.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Animal Diversity Web: University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology; http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Rhinoclemmys_pulcherrima/
  2. http://animal-world.com/encyclo/reptiles/turtles/OrnateWoodTurtle.php