Turtles of West Virginia
Family: Chelydridae
Eastern Snapping Turtle

Family: Emydidae
Eastern Painted Turtle  
Midland Painted Turtle
Spotted Turtle  
Wood Turtle
Northern Map Turtle
Ouachita Map Turtle
Eastern River Cooter  
Northern Red-bellied Cooter  
Eastern Box Turtle
Red-eared Turtle

Family: Kinosternidae

Family: Trionychidae
Midland Smooth Softshell  
Eastern Spiny Softshell

WV County Map

Herpetology Terms


Kingdom:  Animalia
   Phylum:  Chordata
      Class:  Reptilia
         Order:  Testudines


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. 

     Their 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 them.


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