There are 13 turtle species in West Virginia in 4 families. Almost all
of our turtles are aquatic or semi-aquatic. The box turtle is the only
species that spends most of its life on land and hibernates in the soil; the
rest hibernate underwater. Many turtles have very long life spans!
Box turtles can live well over 100 years and other turtles like the spotted
turtle can live over 50 years. Because turtles live so long, it is not
so important that they produce many offspring every year. In fact, most
turtle eggs or the hatchlings are eaten by birds, foxes, or other predators.
ability to live incredibly long has resulted in the loss of many turtles in
North America. Many turtles are collected to be sold as pets, either in
this country or overseas. Spotted turtles and wood turtles are a
favorite of collectors because these animals are very friendly and easy to
care for. Taking old adults out of the wild can lead to the loss of
populations though. It is important that habitat is protected for
turtles, but also that turtles are protected from people interested in collecting