Wood Turtle

The wood turtle (Clemmys insculpta) is a moderately sized turtle with reddish-orange skin on portions of its neck and legs and a roughly textured, or sculpted shell. The adult's shell is about seven to eight inches long.

Turtles are an ancient group of animals, originating many millions of years ago. Wood turtles have likely been in Vermont for the past 10,000 years, following the retreat of the last glacier.

Timber Rattlesnake

Fun Facts

The Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) was named by Linneaus in 1758, and the genus name, Crotalus, literally means "hollow in the rocks" after the denning habit the Timber Rattlesnake uses.

Timber Rattlesnakes were bountied in Vermont until 1971, and designated endangered in 1987. They have a triangular shaped head to accommodate venom glands and injecting apparatus.


The Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum) has reddish-brown blotches outlined in black. They become darker with age. They also have a white "Y" (which may be complete or broken) on the back of their head. The Milksnake's underside has a white and black checkerboard pattern.

Eastern Ribbonsnake

eastern ribbonsnake

The Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus) has three yellow, length-wise stripes on a black background. A checkerboard pattern is rarely visible between the stripes. The head is dark reddish-brown over a white upper lip and there is a vertical white bar just in front of the eye. Also look for the mahogany stripe along the lower sides and edges of the belly.

Turtle Project Results

Monitoring turtle distribution and nesting success helps determine trends and improves management and conservation efforts. Below are summaries for two turtle species the department is currently monitoring.

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Reptiles: Five-Lined Skink

Reptiles: Eastern Garter Snake

Reptiles: Milksnake

Reptiles: Eastern Ratsnake

Reptiles: Timber Rattlesnake

Reptiles: Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle

Reptiles: Ribbon Snake

Reptiles: Wood Turtle

Contact Us

Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
Commissioner Louis Porter

1 National Life Drive
Fish & Wildlife LogoDavis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3702

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The mission of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is the conservation of all species of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont.