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Spotted tortoise is a favorite among tortoises

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Distributed in the USA. It lives in swampy meadows, in humid woodlands, swamps, beaver dams and small rivers with a dirty silted bottom. Small, attractive, with a shell length of 9 to 13 cm. The carapace is black, without keels and protrusions, as if sprayed on top with round yellow spots. The same spots are on the head, neck and limbs. The plastron is creamy yellow with large black spots around the perimeter. Males have brown eyes, a brown chin and a long thick tail. Females have orange eyes and yellow chin.

The mating season in spotted turtles (Clemmys guttata) lasts from March to May. In June, females dig small flask-like pits in areas heated by the sun, where 3-8 elliptic eggs about 3 cm long are laid. Turtles appear in late August – September and usually remain in the nest until next spring.

In the cold spring months, a spotted tortoise can often be seen basking in the sun, but in summer, when dense vegetation develops, it is almost impossible to see it. Often found with painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), forest (Clemmys insculpta) and Makhlenberg (Clemmys muhlenbergi) Winters under water in soft silt, alluvial debris or muskrat burrows.

Spotted tortoise

Spotted Tortoise - Clemmys guttata - two populations are known Clemmys guttata in eastern North America that exist apart from each other. The first is located on the east coast from southern Maine to northern Florida, including New England, the coastal zone of Virginia, Carolina and Georgia. A few isolated populations live in southeast Quebec, adjacent northern Vermont, and also in northern Carolina. The second population is located in the Great Lakes region and is located in northeast Illinois, Michigan, northern Indiana, Ohio and western Pennsylvania to the western region of New York State. Isolated populations are found in central Indiana, as well as in Georgia. The usual habitats for spotted turtles are temperate forests and rain forests. Outside of this range, a spotted tortoise is found in rare, few colonies.

The spotted tortoise is a small tortoise, the carapace of which is very rarely longer than 11.4 cm long, 13.6 cm carapace is considered a record. In adult animals, the carapace is smooth without protruding seams, its color may be black or black-brown with different the number of round yellow spots. In old turtles, spots fade; in some individuals, they do not exist at all. The plastron is yellow or orange with a black pattern on each flap; in some older animals, the plastron is almost completely black. The head is black with yellow spots, usually a yellow or orange spot on the head, sometimes splitting into two spots. The outer side of the paws is black with yellow spots, the inner surface, as well as the neck, is orange-pink or pink-red.

The sex of the turtle is easy to establish, especially in adulthood, because the floors are diamorphic. Males have elongated and flattened carapace, and a depression is noticeable on the plastron in its central part. The eyes of males are brown, the chin is light brown, brown or black. The tail is longer and thicker than that of females. The anus is removed from the edge of the carapace. In the female, the carapace is convex and round, while the plastron is flat. Her eyes are orange, her chin is yellow or orange. The tail is narrow, the anus is located under the edge of the carapace. Females are slightly larger than males.
Newborn turtles have an almost round carapace with a length of 2.5-3.1 cm, color as in adults, but on each shield of the carapace there is only one spot. The tail can match the length of the carapace.

The spotted tortoise eats food of plant and animal origin that it finds in water. They begin to feed in the spring not earlier than the water warms up to a temperature of 15 ° C. Among plant foods, they prefer algae, soft leaves of aquatic plants, water lily seeds. Worms, mollusks, crustaceans, insects and their caterpillars, amphibian roe, carrion serve as an addition to the diet.

Spotted turtles reach puberty at the age of 7-14 years with a carapace of at least 9 cm, and the animals distributed in the north of the range begin to bear offspring much later than their southern counterparts. Mating takes place in early spring, as soon as the turtles creep out of the winter shelters after hibernation. In Pennsylvania, according to Ernst (1982), this occurs at a water temperature of at least 8.5 ° C, and in Ontario at least 2 ° C (Litzgus and Brooks, 2000).

The males fight among themselves over the female. Mating occurs in this way: the male catches the female in the water and begins to chase her, periodically rewarding her paws and carapace with bites, after which he climbs onto her and begins to bite her in the neck and head. Mating takes place on the shallows and can last an hour or so. Egg laying occurs from the end of May to June, the female lays 1-8 eggs per year, but some turtles can produce a second laying in a few days with fewer eggs. Under conditions of reproduction, the reproductive abilities of females increase. An animal from New York is known, which in 13 months made 8 clutches with a total number of 42 eggs. The factors under which the reproductive capacity of females have been studied have not yet been studied (improved nutrition, natural conditions, etc.).

A female spotted tortoise, which intends to masonry, looks for an open, sunny place near water, moist but not swampy. In the absence of suitable conditions, the female sometimes chooses a compost heap. She digs a hole with her hind legs 2.5-3.4 cm long, elliptical in shape, the shell is thin and mobile. The incubation period lasts 44-83 days, at high temperatures the period is shorter. Most of the young are born in August-September, some of the youngsters winter in the nest. The sex of young turtles depends on temperature during the second third of the incubation period, mainly males hatched under laboratory conditions at a temperature of 22.5 ° -27 ° C, mainly females emerged from eggs at a temperature of 30 ° C.

Spotted turtles have been active since early spring at relatively cold water temperatures. The peak of activity occurs in April-May in the north of the range. On hot summer days (at a temperature of 30 ° C) they become sleepy and lethargic. During the summer hibernation, they bury themselves in leaves or moist soil near water bodies or swamps. They hibernate in late summer or autumn, but always in the area of ​​water bodies. Each of the turtles has possessions from 0.5 to 3.5 ha. They live, both individually and in colonies.

Young turtles are vulnerable to natural enemies because they travel a lot on land. Their enemies include raccoons (Procyon lotor) Turtles are not easy to catch when they crawl out to bask in the sun: at the first sign of danger, they dive into the water and bury themselves in silt at the bottom. Water rats devour turtles while they are in a state of hibernation.

Spotted turtles prefer shallow reservoirs with shallows, with a soft muddy bottom and dense thickets of vegetation. They can be found in sphagnum swamps, swampy ponds, in slow-flowing old women. They often travel by land from one reservoir to another and can remain outside the reservoir for weeks.

The factors limiting the distribution of this species of turtles include high mortality among eggs and young turtles, low reproductive ability in vivo, and late puberty (7-14 years). All this together with the restriction of habitat habitats and the actions of animal dealers pose a threat to the existence of these small bright turtles.

Ernst (1983) reports the existence of hybrids between Clemmys guttata and C. muhlenbergii.

The appearance of spotted turtles

Spotted turtles turtles grow to just 12 centimeters. The black carapace is covered with yellow spots, as if the turtle was sprayed with yellow paint.

Spotted Tortoise (Clemmys guttata).

From English, the name of these turtles translates as "polka dot turtle." Black plastron is bordered by orange, yellow or red border.

The range and habitat of spotted turtles

These beautiful turtles live in the US states; individual populations are found in Canada. The habitat of spotted turtles is cypress wetland forests, and they can also be found in saline ponds and swamps. They spend winter in silt, at the bottom of a reservoir.

From time to time, a turtle climbs out of the water to bask in the sun.

Species of Spotted Turtles

There are 3 types of color variations of spotted turtles:

  • Yellow turtles have spots on the head, a rim on the plastron and stripes on the legs of yellow,
  • Orange turtles have an orange hue instead of yellow,
  • Red turtles have features from the first two varieties, and the plastron borders a red edging.
A spotted turtle hibernates underwater in soft silt, alluvial debris or muskrat burrows.

Content of spotted turtles in terrariums

For a long time it was believed that spotted turtles are extremely difficult to keep in captivity, as they do not live long in terrariums. But the persistence of the tortoises allowed us to determine the cause of the death of the pets - the fault was water. Spotted turtles are very sensitive to water quality, it must be acidic and soft.

Water, for keeping spotted turtles, is prepared in a certain way. It is heated, but not to a boil. Then they put alder cones in it, which can be purchased at the pharmacy and insist 12 hours. After it is passed through a peat filter. From such procedures, the water becomes brown, but it remains transparent. Water is poured into the aquaterrarium and the fallen almond or magnolia leaves are lowered there.

These turtles are extremely sensitive to quality indicators of water, which must certainly be soft and acidic.

The correct temperature is also important for keeping spotted turtles. Turtles should not overheat, water of room temperature is quite suitable for them, it can be cooler - up to 18 degrees.

To make turtles feel comfortable, they do not have enough of a standard aquaterrarium with a glass bridge. Be sure to have a real beach of crushed bark. Shelters must also be present. It is advisable to plant plants in the terrarium. Spotted turtles are neat and they do not damage plants. There should be a wet and dry corner on the shore. To get a wet corner, you will have to spray it regularly. An incandescent lamp is installed above a dry angle. Since turtles should not get too hot, a lamp with a power of 25-40 watts is suitable.

After pouring water into the aquaterrarium, the leaf litter of magnolia or almond should be lowered there.

Spotted Turtle Breeding

For a long time, these turtles have been successfully bred by amateurs in the USA and Europe. In the CIS, this was the first to be done by A.V. Chesunov, a biologist and expert on turtles.

In nature, spotted turtles make masonry in June. The female brings 2-4 eggs. In terrariums, masonry time may shift. Incubation lasts 60 days at a temperature of 25-28 degrees.

If unsuitable living conditions for a spotted turtle are kept, then it can easily die.

It is easy to feed the young animals that have appeared. Small turtles, like adults, feed on bloodworms, shrimps, gammarus, tadpoles and any species of aquatic insects. Since childhood, calcium-vitamin supplements should be introduced into the diet. Spotted turtles never refuse live food: cockroaches and crickets. Unlike their counterparts, spotted turtles actively pursue them, both on land and in water. With a varied diet, young turtles grow rapidly.

Spotted turtles are quite expensive, but their beauty, ingenuity and small size make them popular among tortoises.

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