This study has been ongoing for a few years and each turtle is numbered. All of the turtles that were caught had been caught between ten and fifteen years earlier. Their undersides are very colorful and have interesting markings. The age of the turtle can be estimated by counting the concentric grooves that resemble growth-rings on a tree.
Last week I got to accompany Mike Schrage, wildlife biologist for Fond du Lac Reservation and Nancy Gellerman with the MNDNR while they conducted a survey of wood turtles. Previously I had never seen a wood turtle. The wood turtle is considered a threatened species in Minnesota due to its low population. One of the many factors that have contributed to their decline is that they are fairly tame and are collected for pets so this “photo of the week’ I won’t disclose the location of the wood turtles nesting area.