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Surface, Harvey Adam 

First report on the Economic features 
of Turtles of Pennsylvania 


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J.. ^ nhrept Q666.C5S96 

Hrst report on the economic features of 







VOL. VI, No. 4 and 5 (For August and September). 

oim icnxo.] First Report on the 
SUBJtU lb. Economic Features of Tu 

rtles of Pennsylvania. 

September 1, 1908. 

H. A. SuRFACB, M. S., Economic Zoologist, Editor. 

ENTKRKI) M.\Y 1. ini.n. AT HA RRIPUriiG, I'A.. AS Si;'-<)M. . I , \ -S M \ it 

('..ivrightpfl ISO'S, by H. A. Surfacp. Author. T'»>rmfTOlon to puMlsh cxtr.T.ts, with proper j 



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VOL. VI, No. 4 and 5 (For August and September). 

SUBJECTS' -I ^''~^* Report on the 

. -j Economic Features of Turtles of Pennsylvania. 

September 1, 1908. 

H. A. Surface, M. S., Economic Zoologist, Editor. 


Copyrighted IKOS, by 11. A. Barface, Author. Permiaalon to pabliih extracts, with proper 

credit, isiTiven. 




VOLUME VI, Nos. 4 and 5. 

Established in April, 1903, at the office of the Economic Zoologist 
Edited by H. A. Surface, Economic Zoologist, Harrlsburg, Pa. 






The Meaning of Classification, Orders, Families, Genera and Species, 

Common Names , 

The Authority for This Classification and Nomenclature 

Acknowledgments • 

General Remarks on the Turtles of Pennsylvania, 

What is a Turtle? 

Habits of Pennsylvania Turtles , 

Eggs and Reproduction 

Hibernation and Capture 

Notes on Turtles , 


Protection , 


Families and Species of Pennsylvania Turtles , 

Family I. Trionychidse. The Soft-shelled Turtles 

Species 1. Amyda mutica (Le Sueur). Leather Turtle, 

Sp. 2. Aspidonectes spinifer (Le Sueur). Common Soft-shelled 


Sp. 3. Aspidonectes agassizi Baur. Agassiz's Ttirtle, 

Family II. Chelydridae. The Snapping Turtles, 

Sp. 4. Chelydra serpentina (L.). Common Snapping Turtle, 

Family III. Kinosternidse, The Box Turtles 

Sp. 5. Kinosternon pennsylvanicum (Bosc). Mud Turtle 

Sp. 6. Aromochelys odoratus (Latreille). Musk Turtle, 

Family IV. Emydidae. The Pond Turtles , 

Sp. 7. Graptemys geographicus (Le'Sueur). Map Turtle 

Sp. 8. Graptemys pseudogeographicus (Holbr.). False Map 


Sp. 9. Malaclemmys centrata (Latr.). Diamond-back, 

Pseudemys rubriventris (Lee). Red-bellied Terrapin, .. 
Pseudemys hieroglyphica (Holbrook). Hieroglyphic Tur- 

Sp. 10. 
Sp. 11. 
tie, . 
Sp. 12. 
Sp. 13. 
Sp. 14. 

Chrysemys picta (Hermann). Painted Turtle, 

Chrysemys marginata (Agassiz). Margined Turtle 

Clemmys muhlenbergi (Schweigger). Muhlenberg's Turtle, 

Sp. 15. Clemmys insculptus (Le Conte). Wood Turtle 

Sp. 16. Clemmys guttatus (Schneider). Speckled Turtle 

Sp. 17. Emydoidea blandingi (Holbr.). Blanding's Turtle, 

Sp. IS. Terrapene Carolina (L.). Common Box Turtle, 

Egg Figures , ~ 

Food of Young Turtles , 

Economic Features of Food of Turtles, 


Flowerless Plants 

Flowering Plants, 

Animal Material Eaten by Turtles, 

Condensed Food-charts 

Glossary ~. 


Index .:...:. , > 1 1 1 1 1 : 1 • < > < • . I 









Classilii;ilit)ii ui svsd-iii is ilu* most icmarkable feature in the 
bludy of Nature. All living tilings arc to be classiticd in certain 
larger and smaller groups, which are again divided and subdivided 
iu regular svslematic order until we come to the lowest or most 
remote giou]) called the •"species." This has been regarded as the 
unit iu Mature. Thus, that great Class of N'ertebrate animals which 
always breathe by means of lungs, and are called cold-blooded, have 
the body covered with scales or plates instead of feathers or hair, 
and have certain other anatomical characters in common, is called 
Keptilia or the Keptiles. This great Class is divided into four 
Orders, three of which are represented iu the State of i*enusylvania: 
The Serpents, the Lizards and the Turtles. Thus it is correct to 
say that a Turtle is a Reptile. 

Our Turtles belong to the Order Testudinata, so named from the 
Latin word meaning "a tortoise.'' The rennsylvania sjK'cies are in- 
cluded in four Families or major groups of this Order, while these 
Families are again composed of (lenera or smaller groups, and 
Species, or the last group in the scheme of classification. The scien- 
tific name is that* of the Genus and Species. Discussions of the indi- 
vidual kinds or species found in this State are here given under the 
respective scientific names, each of which is given its proper place 
in the scheme of classification. 

There are a great many common names of Turtles, many of which 
are used for more than one species and are thei-efore confusing. 
For this reason we recommend that the first common name here 
given be used as the real common name for each respective species. 
However, others that are used in various parts of this State are 
given in ord^^r that readers may recognize the kind to which refer- 
<'nce is made. 

The authojily for the classilical ion lirrr wsvd is the Ninth Edition 
of the "Manual of the Vertebrate Animals of the Northern United 
States," by Dr. David Starr Jordan. President of liOland Stanford 
Junior Thiiversity, Ninth Edition, 1004, by A. C. McClurg and Co.. 
Chicago. III., whi<h has been our standard of authority for th(» class- 
ification and noniendature of tiic IJulletiiiR on Vertebrate Zoology 



previously issued by this office. However, a recent and undoubtedly 
more acceptable and proper series of scientific names of Turtles, 
lias recently been published in the proceedings of the Philadelphia 
Academy of Sciences, by Dr. Arthur E. Brown, Director of the Phil- 
adelphia Zoological Garden. If it were not for our established plan 
to adopt Jordan's Manual as the authority on Vertebrates for our 
classification of names and Analytic Keys (because this is a book 
to be found, in practically all zoological laboratories and libraries), 
we should here use the names given by Dr. Brown, but in order to 
bring these into general use for students, we publish them in brack- 
ets, after each of the synonymous names which Dr. Brown regards 
as needing to be changed. 

We offer this Bulletin as a First or Preliminary Report on the 
Turtles of Pennsylvania, with the hope that it will aid in dissem- 
inating some knowledge upon this greatly neglected subject and in 
creating an interest that may lead to closer observations and fur- 
ther studies and collections, which may be the basis of a second and 
more extensive, useful and accurate Report on the same topic. Notes 
and specimens are earnestly solicited by the Economic Zoologist. 
Even slight observations upon such topics should be recorded in 
writing and sent to the office of the Economic Zoologist at Harris- 
burg, Pa. • Specimens are greatly desired, particularly of those 
species which are indicated as being at present regar(3ed as rare in 
this State. It is preferred that all specimens be killed as soon as 
collected, in order that the natural food may remain in the stomach 
and dissections may show something concerning their feeding habits. 
They can easily be killed by putting them into tightly closed vessels 
with cotton weV saturated with chloroform and let them remain 
until entirely dead, or where that is impossible, the head of the 
Turtle can be drawn from the body and cut off at once. Both head 
and body should then be shipped by express to our office, at our 
expense. Persons who are willing to volunteer their services in 
making collections, in the different parts of this State, and also 
in making observations to aid in the preparation of a Second Report, 
should write to this office for further directions. Such persons will 
be the first to receive our further publication and otherwise be aided 
as much as is possible from this office. We hope to have many volun- 
teers in different parts of this great State. 

The acknowledgment and thanks of the Economic Zoologist are 
due to the various observers and contributors in different portions of 
this State and to his assistants and employes in the office, who have 
been faithful in their efforts to aid in collections, dissections, deter- 
minations, and otherwise have obtained facts for this Bulletin. Our 
thanks are also to be expressed to Dp. H. 0. Bnmpus, Director of 
the American Mnseum of Natural History, of New York City, for the 


loan of plalt-'a [n-t'viously used in llioir [Mihlicadon on "Tin* l\ci)til«'8 
in (lie N'iciuily of Nrw York (Jily," by Hayniond L. Ditniars, from 
ilu' Anu'iicau Museum Journal, \'ol. V, No. 3, July, IDO"). 

H. A. SlIKFACE, Economic Zooloj^isl, 

Uai'i'isburg, i*a. 


In considci-ation of llu- increasinj; nuuibcis of insect pests destruc- 
tive to forest, fruit aud sliade trees iu this State, it becomes neces- 
sary to make a careful study of the economic features of all residents 
of woodland, tield and orchard. According to what is doubtl'ess 
correct theory, such pests were previously held iu check in the bal- 
ance of Nature by their natural enemies, but, due to the influence 
of man, either intentionally or thoughtlessly, the balance has been 
disturbed aud the pests are increasing greatly, showing evidence 
that through one or more causes the enemies of such pests have de- 
(;reased iu number. 

It is regrettable how few persons know which are really friends 
aud which foes, not only in the insect world, but throughout the en- 
tire realm o^ the lower forms of animal life. Tens of thousands of 
individuals of various kinds inhabiting our forests, fields and gardens 
are placed under the general suspicion of being obnoxious or de- 
structive to personal interest?? or j)ropert3' of mankind, which by a 
little investigation are shown to be beneficial iu the extreme and 
which play an important part in the Plan of the Universe. It be- 
hooves the student of such subjects to look carefully along this line, 
prevent error, and see that truths are emphasized concerning such 
neglected and despised creatures. 

Such students are forced to exclaim with Stillingsfieet: 

"Each moss, each shell, each crawling insect in the dust 
Holds a rank important in the plans of Him who fram'd 

their being; — 
Holds a rank, which, would break the chain. 
And leave behind a gap that Nature's self would rue." 

The study of the Turtles of Pennsylvania has been undertaken for 
the purpose of emphasizing the economic features of those species 
of which uninformed persons know so little, and which are conse- 
(juently despistnl, neglected and often destroyed. The study is at- 
tended with unusual diniculties, such as (1) the lack of jMDpular 
knowledge concerning it, in consequence of which it is almost im- 
possible to secure by correspondence, notes and observations of th^ 


occurrence of different species in various parts of this State; (2) the 
inaccessible places which are the haunts of most varieties of our 
turtles, and (3) the deplorable and almost entire absence of popular 
literature upon this subject. 

What is a Turtle ? Dr. David Starr Jordan, in his Manual of Ver- 
tebrates, has described the turtle as being ''A reptile with the body 
enclosed between two more or less developed bony shields, which 
are usually covered by horny epidermal plates, but sometimes by a 
leathery skin. Upper shield (carapace) and lower shield (plastron) 
more or less united along the sides. Neck and tail the only flexible 
parts of the spinal column; these, together with the legs, usually 
retractile within the box made by the two shields. The bony part 
of the carapace is formed by the dorsal and sacral vertebrae, and 
the ribs co-ossified with a series of overlying bony plates, usually 
accompanied by a marginal row. The dorsal vertebrae have their 



(5 - 






. i 



\ ^ 



Fig. 1. A diagram of the upper shell or carapace, and under shell or plastron, 
with index to names of the dermal plates: Carapace, (a), Vertebral plates; 
'(b). Costal plates; (c). Marginal plates; (d), Nuchal plate; Plastron, (e). 
Bridge; (f), Gular plates; (g), Humeral plates; (h). Pectoral plates; (i). Ab- 
dominal plates; (j), Femoral plates; (k), Anal plates. 

ends flattened and immovably united by cartilage, and all of them, 
except the first and last, have their neural spines flattened hori- 
zontally so as to form the median line of plates. On either side of 
this series is a single row of ossified dermal plates, overlying the 
ribs and corresponding in number to the developed ribs, of which 
there are usually 8 pairs. No true sternum; plastron consisting of 
membrane bones, of which there are usually 9 pieces, — 4 pairs and a 
single symmetrical median piece. The osseous plates, both above 
and below, correspond neither in number nor position with the over- 
lying dermal plates. 


'Tlu' skull is more coiupact than in tin* olbcr repliit'S. Tliere are 
uo teeth, but the jaws are euiased in horny sheaths, usually with 
sharp cutting edges; the eye is furnished with two lids aud a nic- 
titating membrane as in the birds; the tympanic membrane is al- 
ways present, although sometimes hidden by the skin. Respiration 
is ellected by swallowing air." 

Turtle, Tortoise or Terrapin? Tlicrc has been an ettort made by 
some writers to distinguish between Land and Water Turtles by 
using the word "Tortoise" i'or the former ami "Turtle" for the latter, 
while the word "Terrai)iu" has been more or less generally used for 
small Turtles, without regard to delinite reason for application. 
Among our Peunsylvania species we can find no line of demarcation 
between terrestrial or land and aquatic or water Turtles; neither 
can we find justification for applying the term ''Tortoise" to one 
species in a Family, "Turtle" to another, and "Terrapin" to another 
of the same Family. We consider the use of these terms as con- 
fusing, mispleading and unjustifiable. No attempt is made in this 
Report to confine their application within certain limits. They 
are therefore to be regarded as synonyms, and consequently uo 
justifiable reason is to be found for discarding the word "Turtle" 
for any of our species that belong to the Ordei- Testudinata. It 
would be very nice, indeed, if all writers and speakers should agree 
to apply the word "Terrapin" to those species of Turtles which live 
on really dry land, far away from the water, "Tortoise" to those 
which live mostly on land, near water, and "Turtle" to those which 
live in water, but there is really no sharp demarcation between the 
habits of these different species, and consequently it would in many 
cases be a very debatable point as to -whether a certain kind of 
creature should b.e called a "Terrapin," a "Tortoise," or a "Turtle." 
To avoid this, the last terra is preferred and here used generally. 

Habits of Pennsylvania Turtles: Pennsylvania may have at least 
eighteen (18) dilVcicut species of turtles within her borders, some 
of which, such as the famous Diamond-Back, are confined to the 
eastern margin of the f^tate, and others, such as Agassiz's Turtle, 
are to be found only in the extreme western ]>art of the Common- 
wealth. These turtles would represent the two distinct faunal areas 
of the Eastern Atlantic slop*' and the MiRsissij>pi X'alley, separated 
by the Allegheny mountains. There are some species, such as the 
Painted Turtle and the Margined species, that are closely allied in 
appearance and habits, and yet almost sharply separated in distri- 
bution by the mountain system. 

The turtles live in damii places such as swamps and ponds, except 
the common Box Turtle, which prefers hills and dry slopes. In 


aquatic places tbej are able to escape from their enemies by diving 
into the water, burrowiuy into the mud, or swimming away. 

The mouth of the turtle is provided with horny edges along the 
jaw, by which they are able to cut vegetation or tiesh as with a 
pair of scissors, but they are not provided with teeth, as generally 
found in carnivorous creatures. They take their food either in the 
water or on land, and are able to eat or swallow in either air or 

It is not generally known that turtles molt or cast the epidermis 
or outer portion of the skin as regularly as do the serpents. How- 
ever, it is true that a specimen may become covered with moss-like 
vegetation and within a few days assume a bright, clean appear- 
ance, which is explainable only by the process of casting the horny 
epidemal plates covering the shell, as we have observed in aquaria. 

Eggs and Nests: In turtles the sexes are distinct, but it is often 
impossible to recognize the difference between the male and female, 
although in many species the males are to be recognized by the 
concave or hollow plastron. All mate, and lay eggs, which may 
vary in number from three to one hundred, according to size and 
species. With some species, such as the Snapping Turtle and the 
Leather Back, the eggs are almost perfectly spherical, and in this 
regard differ from all Pennsylvania species of serpents' eggs, all 
of which are oval in one outline. Also their shells are hard and 
calcareous or somewhat stony, and in this feature differ from the 
serpents, which are only leathery. Some of the eggs of turtles are 
elongate or oval, as are those of the Common Box Turtles. 

All species of turtles leave the water to lay their eggs, most of 
them preferring the loose warm sand along the shores. After find- 
ing a suitable place the female commences to make an excavation 
with her hind claws and body and also turns around in the hole in 
such a way that her body burrows deeper and deeper in the sand un- 
til she reaches such a depth that her body is covered with sand and 
only the head protrudes. The eggs are then laid, after which she 
crawls out in such a manner that the sand which covered her body 
drops over the eggs and covers them. 

They are now left to hatch by the aid of the sun and ever after- 
ward to shift for themselves. As soon as the young break their 
embryonic prisons they go trooping in a line down grade to water, 
where they find both food and protection, and where at the same 
time many of their natural enemies find them. 

As the eggs are edible and sought for food by both man and beasts 
and as young turtles are a favorite delicacy of most carnivorous 
mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes, it is no wonder that the turtles 
are reduced in number by these agencies. 


Hibernation andl Capture: At tlif lir»l approach of winter the 
(•((luiiion Hox and I In- Wood Tiirlles go into the woods where leaves 
and leal mold arc lo !••• found and bury themselves from the danger 
of freezing, while th(- a<iuatie or water species go into dcM'per water, 
where Ihey remain warm ami safe, or bury thenuselves in mud under 
water or along tht? shore. They are fat and in tiue condition in the 
fall, and it is the habit of hibernating in the mud that makes thera 
such easy i)rey to turtle lumters who oflen secure scores of them in 
a day. They are found by pushing a pointed and barbed iron rod 
deep in the sjind where they are expected (o hibernate, and when 
the rod strikes their shell the experienced hunter is able to recog- 
nize it at once, and by mi-ans of the barb or hook the reluctant 
hibernating creatures are drawn from their winter retreat. They 
are then doomed to become the food of man, chiefly in restaurants 
and soup houses in the cities. The gathering of turtles for market 
is a very important occupation in some portions of this State. 

Turtles are captured not only by the hook and line, and the 
barbed rod, which is used to find and remove them in the fall and 
spring, in the mud where they hibernate, as mentioned above, but 
also by set linens, traps, iiets, seines and guns. One favorite method 
of catching turtles is to tie a hook to a wire so it can not be bitten 
off, bait with tainted meat, a cla.ra, or cotton soaked in dough, tie 
the wire to a short green springy pole, three or four feet in length 
and stick this deeply into the mud along the bank, throwing the 
hook into deep water where the turtles may find it, and after swal- 
lowing they find that the springing of the short pole does not give 
them the opportunity to break away that they would have if it 
were tied to some solid object. 

In seining for fishes they are often taken in the nets, although 
their ettort is to burrow into the mud and pass out beneath the 
seine. Set nets are often placed for them, and one of tlie favorite 
methods of capturing them in certain rivers, is by a wire trap with 
funnel-shaped entrances, somewhat like those seen in \\\ro rat traps. 
Inside these devices fasten ears of corn and immerse them in tlie 
water. After the corn has soaked a f<'w days and becomes very 
sour it attracts the turtles, and in their efforts to get the sour grain 
to eat, they find their way into the trap and are unable to escape 
readily. Tliis is lifted from the water at intervals by means of a 
rope or wire attached and the imprisoned turtles and sometimes 
fishes are removed. Similar traps are sometimes placed beside the 
favorite rocks or stones where turtles are liable to rest in the sun 
and in the immediate territories of which tliey appear \n he the 
sole and entire monarchs. 


Turtles are often captured by shooting, and one of the tests of 
marksmanship, especially along the tributaries of the Ohio Eiver, 
is to shoot a turtle in the head and render it immediately insensible, 
so that it will not move from the spot where it was when shot. The 
Leather-back Turtles, which are much prized for food, are thus shot 
by marksmen and often remain on the rocks or logs where they 
were perched at the time of shooting. It is then an easy matter 
for the hunter to go to the rock and remove the insensible prey. 
We well remember having seen a Soft-shelled or Leather-backed 
Turtle when' floating in deep water in a stream, shot in the head 
by a marksman and killed so suddenly that it did not have an oppor- 
tunity to expel the air from its lungs to let it sink. Its head merely 
dropped and the body continued to float until boys swam out to it, 
placed their hands under it and brought it to shore, when it com- 
menced floundering, which is merely the reflex action of the nerres 
immediately connected with the twitching muscles but not by any 
brain activity. 

When the head of a turtle is chopped off or the neck is severed, 
the animal is killed as instantly as is a chicken or any other creature 
killed by the same process, although the ganglionic or reflex ner- 
vous action may continue for some hours or even days. Thus when 
persons kill turtles by shooting in the head or by decapitation they 
may have the satisfaction of knowing that the creatures are not 
alive though they may be twitching and jerking, showing that the 
muscles are yet active. There is, of course, no sensation or pain 
after the nerve connection with the brain is severed. 

The chief commercial species at one" time was the Diamond-back, 
but as this is confined to the salt marshes along the seashore, and 
has become very rare in Pennsylvania, it no longer plays an import- 
ant part as an item of food. The next best turtle as food is doubt- 
less the Common Soft Shell Turtle, found in the western part of 
the State, in the tributaries of the Ohio river; but this also is rare, 
and while most of our smaller turtles are edible, we are to depend 
for flesh and soup mostly upon the well known Snapping Turtle. 

It is supposed that all our species of turtles are edible excepting 
those which at once give off such bad odors as to be very offensive, 
and also the Box Turtle. During the coal miners' strike of 1902, 
in the vicinity of Scranton, many miners roamed over the hills and 
captured and ate turtles and Avere made sick thereby. It is prob- 
able that these were the Box Turtles, and this is an evidence that 
the flesh of this species is, under some circumstances, unfit for 
human food.* It is not generally regarded as edible and this gen- 
eral supposition is doubtless correct. 

•The flesh may have been rendered temporarily poisonous to man through the Box Turtle 
havlnfr eaten toad stools, of which it Is fond, but which do not Injure the animal. 


More di'tails coiiccniinj; llic lijil)i(s of Uicsr cicaluics arc to b** 
found ill the disriussioii of each rcsiH'ctlvc species. 

The Suappiiij; Tiiitlc is bv far the most abiindaul aud most sought 
turtle for food in tliis State, and it is coninion to see them fattening 
in swill barrels, lieliint; into tine condition for market for hotels 
and restaurants. 

Notes on Turtles. 

The followinji interesting Notes are written by our valued con- 
tributor. xMr. K. W. Wehrle. of Indiana, Pa., as the results of his 
own experience and observations: 

"Tliere are many ways of capturinj; the Snapping Turtle. The 
sporting way is to catch them with hook and line. Take a heavy 
line and a good sized hook. Fasten hook on with wire to prevent 
biting hook otf. Bait with tough beef. If you are fishing in day- 
time, lift lines once an hour, and if there is one in the fishing hole, 
he is sure to have the bait swallowed. The bait should always be 
tainted. They will bite from May until September. 

In the spring they will travel up stream, and in the fall down 
stream until they find a dee]) hole, and there they will remain until 
spring in a musk rat hol(\ and if you should be lucky enough to 
find one in March they are just as fat as in summer. I have six 
Snappers in my cellar under the store and am keej)ing clase watch 
on them. They have taken no food since the middle of October, 
and at this writing, in January, are fast asleep with heads close to 
the bottom of the barrel, and it is almost impossible to get them 
to move a foot. As far as I know they have but one enemy, and 
that is the otter. I saw an otter bring one up through the ice and 
eat off the head, which seemed to satisfy the animal. 

The Soft-shelled Turtle is hard to cai)ture and very few know how 
to catch it. The way I do it is to take a good thin line, fasten a 
small hook on the line with wire, use a cork to keep the bait near 
the surface of the water, and set it near a deep hole where the 
water is moving enough to keep the bait moving, and they will 
take the bait very much like a fish. A worm is the best ]>ait to use." 

Enemies: — The enemies of turtles are much more numerous than 
one might suppose. Though they appear to be firmly encased and 
safely protected by their strong, hard sliells. it must be remembered 
that it is only when they are fairly well grown that they achieve 
such protection. .\s eggs, they are sought by mankind, by foxes, 
raccoons, musk rats, doirs. cats. weas«'ls. skunks, etc. and as young 


turtles they readily become the prey of nearly all carnivorous crea- 
tures, including serpents and fishes. Perhaps no form of animal 
living in this State has so little chance to escape or has greater 
numbers of natural enemies than the young turtle. However, after 
they become mature and are well protected, they may live for 
scores of years, or even a century. 

Protection: — Mr. R. F. Baker, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., gave the 
writer a young Wood Turtle (C. insculptus), about two inches in 
diameter, which he took from the stomach of a large mouthed black 
bass in a stream in Cumberland county, June, 1908. Mr. Wehrle 
in his publication records having seen an otter bring a turtle 
from the depths of the water where it was hibernating in the winter 
and kill it by eating its head. Turtles are frequently attacked by 
leeches, or bloodsuckers, which in fact are nearly always found at- 
tached to turtles of certain species. 

The plow and harrow are effective in injuring many specimens of 
the Common .Box Turtle. Also defects are often seen in the backs 
of the shells of this species, and holes in the hinder margin of the 
shells tell the story of their having been cruelly used for the purpose 
of driving rabbits or other small mammals from their burrows in 
the ground. Sometimes a hole is made in the shell, a short wire 
attached thereto and some burning substance fastened to the wire 
and the turtle made to crawl into the hole. The fire keeps the 
reptile moving forward and when the depths of the burrow are 
reached the rabbit or other mammal is driven out in terror. The 
poor turtle may, of course, be badly burned, but this does not appear 
to count in the minds of many thoughtless persons. It would be 
well for the practice to be strictly prohibited. There is also an 
absurd notion that to build a fire on the back or shell of a turtle 
will cause the animal to crawl out of its shell. These practices 
account for some of the injuries which later and permanently result 
in defective shells on the backs of living creatures. 

It is always interesting to study the manner of natural protection 
of any animal or group of animals. Turtles are protected, first, 
while in the egg state, by being buried in the sand, or loose earth, 
and when young by being so slow or inactive as to escape observa- 
tion such as would be drawn by quickly-moving creatures, and also 
by their dull hues or colors, which render them the same color as 
the mud or damp earth on which they live. Also, all species of 
turtles are able to swim, and some swim with }\\e rapidity of a 
fish, dart quickly, and are able to escape by plunging into the 
water, and either swimming away or stirring up the mud, thus 
rendering them invisible. The Common Soft-shelled Turtle takes 


the bail icadilv. oKoii eaJinj; live iiiiiiuows, which arc used in bass 
tishing. J( swims, (Uirts and cnts I lie waU'r like a bass, and il is 
ufteu mistaken lor a gij^autic li.sii until (he anj^h'r is alili- (o bring 
it near enough lo sec dial he has hooked a turth' instead of a lish. 

It is the hard bon^ shell I hat most turtles lind to be their most 
effective means of protection. This is so strong that in most species 
when mature it will bear the weight of a man without injury. After 
the turlle arrives at such age that it can draw it»s cxtreniilies into 
its hard shell, it has a good means of protection and nature need 
do little more for it. However, most of them feed by night, and 
thus have the universal protection of darkness, given to most 
untamed creatures. Also, many live in inaccessible swamps or 
along streams, where they can watch the approach of their enemies 
and [►lunge into deep water upon the slightest alarm. 

Economy: — In the economy of man the turtles till their place 
not only as food in the form of eggs or llesh but also yield the im- 
portant i)roduct commonly known as tortoise shell, used for making 
vaiious ornamental and useful articles. It is especially valuable in 
destroying many obnoxious creatures, particularly destructive in- 
sects, and as scavengers, cleaning away dead animal material. 

Comparatively little has been said concerning the work and value 
of tuilles as scavengers in performing their important role in Na- 
ture by cleaning up dead animal matter in water which would other- 
wise became a serious source of pollution. Several species of turtles 
ar«' scavengers and play an important part in this direction, which 
should be recognized. It is not to be presumed that the specimens 
of birds, such as robins, and the mammals, such as rabbits, that 
have been found in the stomachs of turtles, were captured alive by 
these reptiles, but rather that they \\<'re found dead and eaten as 
carrion. The details of food slmlics of each species, discussed in 
other pagcis of this IJulletin, call attention to this fact, which is 
here printed in such detailed positiveness and precision for the first 


The families of turtles represented in this Stat<' are to be deter- 
mined by the following Analytic Key: 

A. Carapace leatln-ry, margins Hexilile; deinial plates, absent; 
three claws on each fool; F;iMiily I. Tiionydiidji'. The Soft- 
shelled Turtles. 


AA. Carapace firm, ossified; dermal plates present; five claws on 
front feet and four behind. 

B. Tail very long and strong, with a crest of tubercles; plastron 
narrow and small, cross-shaped, with 9 plates (besides the bridge); 
body highest in front: Family TI. Chelydridae. The Snapping Tur- 
tles. ^ 

BB. Tail short, not crested; plastron broad. 

C. Lower jaw ending in a long sharp point; carapace highest be- 
hind the middle, its edge not llariug outward; plastron with or 
11 plates : Family III. Kinosternidse. The Box Turtles. 

CC. Lower jaw without long point at symphsis; carapace highest 
at about the middle, its edge flaring outward; plastron with 12 der- 
mal plates: Family IV. Emydida?. The Pond Turtles. 

In using the analytic key it must be remembered that this is pre- 
pared for the purpose of enabling the student to trace his specimen 
to its proper classification. It must belong in one of the two groups 
in each respective portion of the key. For example, suppose a 
person should find a specimen of turtle and wish to determine the 
common and scientific names of the same. The carapace is not 
leathery, and consequently does not belong to "A" and must belong 
to "AA,'' or to those which have the carapace firm or ossified, and 
dermal plates present. The tail is short and not crested, and 
consequently belongs to the group ''BB" and not "B" of the above 
key. The lower jaw is not pointed, the carapace or shell is highest 
near the middle, and there are twelve plates forming the pastron or 
shell on the lower side. This places it in the group "CC" and proves 
it does not belong to "C." This has now traced it to the Family 
name Emydidae, or Pond Turtles, to which family it belongs. To help 
in determining each of the eighteen species of turtles found in this 
State, we have prepared the above Analytic Key, which is applicable 
to any, and includes all of these species, but not others. After 
having traced the turtle to the correct family by the above Key the 
student should turn to the page upon which the family is discussed 
(page 139), and trace it to the correct genus and species in a similar 



The (uidcs of tilis Family aro dt'scribt'd as having the body liat 
and nearly » iriiihir; (ho carapacf or shell is not completely ossified 
or bony, and is covi-red by a thielc leathery skin which is flexible 
at the margins. It is lioui this leathery covering that they are 
called the JA^ather Turtles or Soft-shell Turtles. The bead is long 
and pointed, with a long Ilexible snout, and the neck is long and 
slender. The feet are broadly webbed, with 5 toes but only '.i 
claws to each foot. The soft shelled turtles are all acjuatic and 
carnivorous in (heir diet and are very voracious creatures. While 
there are about 30 species known to science only two are found in 
I'ennsylvania. These belong to dillerent genera and are to be dis- 
tinguished by the following characteristics: 

A. Nostrils under tip of snout, and circular. Edge of upp^er jaw 
toothed behind. Genus Amyda. 

AA. Nostrils not under lip of snout, but at the end, crescent 
shape, with a ridge projecting from each side of the partition in the 
nose. Edge of upper jaw, not toothed. Genus Aspidonectes. 

Then? is but one species of Amyda, and this is commonly called 
the Leather Turtle. 

Species 1. Amyda mutica (LeSueur). The Leather Turtle. 

The Leather Turtle is variously known as the Leather-back. 
Leathery Turtle, Spineless Soft-shelled Turtle, Brown Soft-shelled 
Turtle and Unarmed Soft-shelled Turtle. It receives its common 
name, "L'cather Turtle,'' from the fact that the covering is not 
hard, but leathery, and not shell-like. 

The Leather Turtle is known by the depression along the middle 
line of the back, with no spines or tubercles along the front margin 
nor on the back. Tliey aie ukui' or less uniformly olive color, 
white beneath the feet, not mottled or spotted although the young 
are spotted above. 

Body flat, nearly circular; carapace not completely ossified; cara- 
pace and plastron covered by a thick, leathery skin, flexible at the 
margin. Head long and pointed, with a long, flexible, tubular snout, 
narrower than that of A. spinifer. Legs well developed, feet broadly 
webbed, not mottled below; toes long, 5-5, but the claws only 3-3. 
Front margin of carapace and back smooth. Caraj>ace brown or 
olive, unicolor or with obscure line-like spots on dull blotches. A 
depression along the mediodorsal line. Head markings obecure, 
but forking at base of proboscis. This species seldom attains a 
length of shell greater than ten inches, but may snmei lines reach 
twelve inches in length. 


This turtle oeciiis from Canada to the Ohio river and Northwest. 
Nash records a specimen caught in Lake Erie. It is therefore liable 
to be found in this State in Erie county and in the tributaries of 
the Ohio river. It is not liable to be common in any portion of this 
region as it is mostly a western species. 

"This turtle is wholly aquatic, since they leave the water only on 
rare occasions. They delight to remain about the roots of trees 
which have fallen into the water, or in drifts of timber. Here they 
can watch for prey and not be observed by any supposed enemy. 
Away from such means of concealment, they are accustomed to 
bury themselves completely in the sand, leaving only their heads 
exposed. Since tlieir heads do not differ much in color from the 
sand it is difficult for one to recognize them, even when the eye is 
directed to them. When air is required it is obtained by stretching 
out the neclc until the pointed snout reaches the surface. The head 
is then again withdrawn. This species enjoys a truL' a(|uatic res- 
piration." Hay, p. 552. 

The flesh of the turtle, like that of the frog, has the property of 
absorbing oxygen from the air breathed and storing it for some 
length of time. This is why these animals which, although com- 
pelled to breathe air by means of lungs, are able to live such a long 
time under water. 

'^The eggs are spherical in form, about | of an inch in diameter, 
and have a thick, but brittle, calcareous shell. They are deposited 
in the sand on the shores of the rivers where the adults live. The 
young are flatter and more nearly circular than the adults." Hay. 
p. 532. 

Unfortunately, we have no specimen of this species collected in 
Pennsylvania, but they are supposed to survive upon insects, fishep. 
water snails and similar small animals. Agassiz found the larvae 
of Neuropterous insects in their stomachs. Others report their 
having eaten worms, snails, fruits and even hard nuts. Hay says 
that if there are potatoes growing near water, the turtles find their 
way to them and devour their stems," of which they are very fond. 
We hope to receive specimens of this species, which may be found 
in any of the streams in the western portion of this State. 

Genus Aspidonectes: There are two species belonging to this 
genus liable to be found in Pennsylvania. One is known as the 
Common Soft-shelled Turtle, and is distinguished by the dark spots 
on the lower part of the body and feet, while the other is Agassiz's 
Turtle, and is to be distinguished by the uniform white color on the 
lower part of the body and feet. 


RlX'Cirs 2. Aspidoncctcs siMiiilcr d^'Sncur). 'I'lic ( "oiiiiikhi Sofi 

slirllcd Tiirllc. 

Tlu' L'uiniiuiii Sdli shelled 'I'liitle is scuiiet iines failed (lie Leather 
Turtle 01' Leather back, and also called I he Soft-shell Turtle, the 
I'Merce Tortoise and the Spiiiv S(d"l-sht lied Tiirlle. The first com 
mon name In ^iveu because it is the most common of the sp'ecies of 




Fig. 2. Common Soft-shelled Turtle, dorsal and ventral view and side view 
of head. (One-half size of an immature specimen.) Drawn by W. U. Walton, iu 
he [..aboratory of H. A. Surface. State Zoologist of Pennsylvauia. 

Soft-shelled Turtles tliat may occur in this State. The last name 
is j;iven betause of the presence of piojections on the front fdge of 
the leathery covering. 


This species is described as follows : 

Body fiat, nearly circular; carapace not completely ossified; cara 
pace and plastron covered by a thick, leathery skin, flexible at the 
margin. Head long and pointed, with a long, flexible; tubular 
snout. Legs well developed, feet broadly webbed, mottled. Toes 
long, five in front and five behind, claws only three in front and 
three behind. Front margin of carapace and the back armed with 
conical tubercles, largest on front margin. Carapace olive, with 
numerous black rings, smaller rings or dots near the margin. Two 
pale bands on head, forking at base of proboscis. Carapace widest 
slightly back of middle, deepest before the middle. Dorsal keel 
obsolete, recognizable only at the front end. Eye moderate, high, 
prominent. Mouth with entire jaAvs, lower fitting into upper. Tail 
conical, robust, depressed above, with a conic, short-pointed tip. 
Plastron cream colored, a pale yellowish blotch along each side of 
head above and behind eye narrowly margined with blackish. Iris 
dull slaty gray. 

The Common Soft-shelled Turtle is found from Canada to Ken- 
tucky and Minnesota, in the tributaries of the Mississippi, Ohio and 
St. Lawrence rivers, and in the lakes of Northern New York and 
the Great Lakes. Nash finds it in all marsh waters of Ontario, and 
Stone reports it in New Jersey in the Delaware Valley, and also 
occurring in the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. This is the most 
common of the three species of Leather-back Turtles that occur in 
that State, and we have been fortunate in receiving specimens from 
our valued contributors, Messrs. E. W. Wehrle, of Indiana, who col- 
lected several in Indiana count}', and John Custer, of Stoyestown, 
Somerset county. 

Excepting the Diamond-back, this is considered the most delicious 
of turtles, and is much sought for food. It is captured by shooting, 
spearing and baiting hooks with meat, as well as by trapping. 
They are frequently seen in rows on rocks or logs in the tributaries 
of the Ohio River, where persons who will not eat that of any other 
species consider their flesh a delicacy. During calm weather they 
are often to be seen floating near the surface of the water more or 
less submerged, sometimes only with the tip of the nose reaching 
to the air. They rarely leave the water, excepting to deposit their 
eggs, or bask in the sunshine on partially submerged logs, but when 
captured fight ferociously and strike and bite viciously. 

They have doubtless been introduced into the eastern part of 
Pennsylvania through the canal from the Western and Central 
part of New York. This may also have been the means of its intro- 
duction into New Jersey, which Fowler says was as early as the late 


'4'Ir' t'g^s may vviwU ahoiil .^i.^ij .11 nuiiibcr and arc itcarl} wliitv 
ill i-olor, pc'ilrrllv sithciiral, hard and ssiiioutli, oiu' iiicli iu diaiuuter, 
aud protc'ctt'd bv a licavy hiiiilr, cakarcous shell. Tlicy arc laid iu 
May in sand ahtng (lie iivrr bank, and in Anj^nsl the yunng hatch 
and j^o inmicdialcly inlo I he \Natci'. 

Uufortuuatuly, ouly two y>t Uic Soft-shelled Turtles available lur 
exauiiuatiou coutaiued food, al though a greater uumber were exam- 
ined aud fouud to be t'Uipty. Uf these ueitiier bad eateu auy vege- 
table matter, but both coutaiued Crayfish, which are couimou iu- 
habitants of streams they frequeut, aud are doubtless among the 
chief elements of their food, in devouring Crayhsh (or Craw- 
lishj, auy creature is objectionable from the fact that it is one 
ot the most important foods of the carnivorous fishes, ilay asserts 
that "it fcedvs on such tishes and reptiles as it can secure." 

One !Sott-!shcllcd Tniile was lound to coatain IragmentiS of beetles 
so broken as to be beyoud recognition, but iudicating the possibility 
of these creatures feeding u[)on insects which may be found floating 
on the water or in damp places frequented by such turtles. 

We take this opportunity to record the fact thai we have fouud 
the Soft-shelled Turtle feeding upon grains of corn obtained in or 
near the ponds which they inhabit. A specimen examined by u^ 
in Ohio some years ago contained both the yellow aud red field coru, 
or Indian corn, to the extent of almost as much corn as would be 
produced upon two average ears of this plant. 

From an economic standpoint this turtle is far more beneficial 
than injurious, because it contributes materially to the food of man. 
AVe hope to receive specimens captured within the boundaries of 
Pennsylvania, and invite observations upon the habits of this 

Species No. 3. Aspidonectes agassizi liaur. Agassiz's Turtle. 

This species is distinguished by the universal white color on the 
under part of the feet. It is known as Agassiz's Turtle, because 
named in honor of the famous naturalist. It is found mostly in the 
central and southern portions of the Mississippi Valley, although it 
is to be looked for along the Ohio river in Pennsylvania. We have 
no record of its occurrence iu (his State but it is not impossible for 
it to be fouud here. Both male and female have tubercles on the 
front of the carapace, but they are larger in the males. The back is 
blotched and mottled in color in the adult, while the young show 
dots or spots and two or thrc'e black lines around the margins. Its 
habits are very similar to those of the Common Soft-shelled Turtle. 

We invite rendeis to watch for ^pecinu'ns of such turtles and help 
us in establishing records of their presence in this Slate. 


Hay says that it occurs in the State of Indiana and should be 
sought for along the Ohio river. Upon this authority we are justified 
in suspecting its possibility as a Fennsylvanian species. 

'•Holbrook states that it is very voracious, feeding on fish and 
such reptiles as it can secure, and it is so greedy that it takes the 
hook readily when baited with any substance whatever, yet he had 
never known it to take food in captivity, even after several months. 

''They swim with great rapidity, and often conceal themselves in 
the mud, buried two or three inches, leaving only a small breathing 
hole for the long neck and small head. This it occasionally thrusts 
out, but usually keeps it concealed so that a passer-by might think 
the hole the residence of some large insect. They are often seen 
basking in the sun, on rocks and apparently asleep." — Hay, page 553. 
Holbrook says that it "will sometimes leap up and give a loud hiss. 
Always ready to snap and bite." 

'•In the south they lay their eggs in May. These are about CO in 
number, have a thick, smooth, brittle shell, and are a little less than 
an inch in diameter. They are hidden in the sand along the shores 
of streams." — Hay, page 554. 


The Turtles of this family have a shell high in front, low behind, 
body heaviest forward, head and neck very large and strong, the 
snout narrower forward; jaws strong, hooked and very powerful; tail 
long, strong, with a crest or ridge of horny compressed tubercles; 
plastron small, cross-shaped, with nine plates besides a very narrow 
bridge. Claws five in front and four behind, strong, the web between 
the toes small. 

These are large turtles of great strength and voracity, chiefly 
aquatic. Three species are known to science, of which two are found 
in America, but only one occurs in Pennsylvania. 

Species 4. Chelydra serpentina (L.). The Snapping Turtle. 

This is variously known as the Common Snapping Turtle, the 
Snapping Turtle, the Loggerhead, Loggerhead Terrapin, Snapper, 
Alligator Couta, Couter, Alligator Tortoise, Serrated Tortoise, Snap- 
ping Tortoise, Snake Tortoise, Alligator Turtle, Land Turtle, Alli- 
gator Terrapin and Soup Turtle. We have authority for each of 
these various names in literature at hand. The most common name 
is "The Snapping Turtle." Tliis is, of course, named from its habit of 
snapping or biting at objects when angered, as it will catch sticks 
or other objects held toward it and often hold on with bulldog tena- 
city. There is a common superstitious belief, which of course is not 


Common Snapping Turtle, showing carapace (dorsal view), plastron (ventral 
pht half) and left side view of shell, with side view of head and tail, (One-half 

Fig. 3. 

view of ripht 

size of original). Drawn by W. R. Walton in Laboratory of H. A. Surface, Harris- 
burg, Pa. 


well founded, to the effect that it will hang on uatil thunder is heard 
or until sundown. The description is as follows: 

Shell high in front, low behind; carapace with three moderate 
keels; margin sharply serrate behind; head large, powerful, not com- 
pletely retractile; eyes close together, beak hooked; tail with sharp, 
tubercular crest above, moderate plates beneath, length about equal 
to shell; plastron small, forming a cross; claws 5-4, web small. Color 
of carapace is dark olive or brown, plastron dull yellow. Plates of 
carapace with concentric and radiating grooves, and some radiating 
black dashes. Carapace of young extremely rough, of old, rather 
smooth, both often moss-covered. Neck long, chin decorated with 
small barbels. The barbels under the chin are very sensitive, and no 
doubt serve the purpose of making the creature aware of any un- 
evenness or obstruction on the bottom of muddy streams in which it 

The Snapping Turtle is found from Canada to the Equator and 
throughout Ontario, occurring also westward to near the Rocky 
Mountains. It is one of the most common, widely distributed and 
best known turtles. The specific name ^'serpentina" refers to the 
serpent-like appearance of the head and neck. 

Our collections from Pennsj'lvania are as follows: 

Bucks county, Taylorsville. 

Bucks county, Cox, E. C. Buckingham. 
Clearfield county, Myer, G. L., Mahaffey. 
Cumberland county, Heciiuian, J. P., Newville. 
Cumberland county, Zoological Division, E'berlys Mills. 
Dauphin county, Buffington, H. E., Lykens. 
Dauphin county, Zoological Division, Harrisburg. 
Delaware county, Lehman, G. H., Essington. 
Erie county, Selden, F. H., Cranesville. 
Erie county, Baron, E. A., McKean. 
Fulton county, Jackson, R. L., McConnellsburg. 
Indiana county, Wehrle, R. W., Indiana. 
Luzerne county, Campbell, E. W., Pittston. 
McKean county, Lehman, J. P., Port Allegany. 
Perry county, Showalter, C. E., Landisburg. 
Potter county, Lehman, F. A., Coudersport. 
Somerset county, Moore, P. K., Trent. 
Tioga county, Shephard, J. D., Wellsboro. 
Venango county. Bean, Lavelle, Emlenton. 
Warren county, Simpson, R., Warren. 


Warren county, Zoological Division, Warren. 
Washington county, Couch, Joseph, Canonsburg. 
Wyoming county, Bunnell. F. I)., Meshoppeu. 

It will be seen by (he above that it is liable to otciii' in aii.\ part 
of this State. 

The Snapping Turtle j)refers nuuhly ponds as its jilace of abode, 
although it is often found in clear rivx?rs. Dr. Hay says. "It is often 
seen far from any water, walking along with awkward gait. When 
seen on land it may be seeking some spot in which to deposit its 
eggs or seeking for food, or perhaps crossing from ont> stream to 
another. In water th^y do not seem to swim, but they may often 
be seen floating along just beneath the surface with the snout and 
eyes only above. "When disturbed, they go immediately to the bot- 
tom and conceal th'emselves there. When traveling about they are 
often seen with a great amount of mud on their backs, as though 
they had be(^n burrowin.i!; in the earth. This species is strong and 
courageous. When attacked they neither attem]>t to retreat nor 
retire passively into'their shells. The jaws are opened, the head and 
long neck are suddenly thrust out, and at the same moment the 
animal leaps forward toward its tormen-tor. If the aim has been 
correct, the jaw closes on the. enemy and the hold is doggedly re- 
tained. It is a curious notion held by many peo])le that when it 
has once secured a hold, it will not let loose until it has thundered. 
It will sometimes permit itself to be carried around by a stick which 
it has seized. 

'The flesh of the Snapping Turtle is often used for food, especially 
that of the younger individuals. When they grow old their flesh 
is likely to have a musky and disagreeable smell. These turtles are 
regularly seen in the markets (Washington) every spring." 

When caught or angered they give out a strong odor which to 
many individuals may be very disagreeable. Mr. R. W. Wehrle, of 
Indiana, Pa., calls our attention to the fact that he finds this odor 
much stronger in the males than in the females. They are often 
fattened in swill barrels, and when well fed they fatten quickly, 
especially in the fall of the yenr. when they are naturally becoming 
in good condition for hibernation. Th^y are then considered best 
for food, riolbrook says "They ar(^ brought in numbers to market 
and are esteemed excellent food, though T think they are far inferior 
to the Orrc^n Turtle, the Soft shelled Turtle, or even sevcM'al of the 
Emydes. They are kept for months in tubs of water and fed on 
offal." The older the animal the stronger and h'ss palatable the 
flesh. The eggs are vei-y nutritious and mudi sought for food, but 


are of such nature that they can not be boiled hard, and they are 
consequently almost always cooked by breaking and frying them. 

When disturbed the Snapping Turtle makes a sharp hissing noise 
by suddenly expelling its breath and partially drawing its neck and 
head into the shell. There is in some places a false idea to the effect 
that the breath thus expelled from turtles, as well as from serpents, 
is poisonous. 

About the middle of June the female Snapping Turtle goes to a 
suitable place to lay her eggs, which is generally damp, warm, sandy 
earth, and may be some distance from the water. She scoops out a 
hole with her claws and by turning around, the earth falls over her 
and conceals her body and the eggs are all laid in one nest. After 
she is through laying she crawls out of the hole in such a way that 
as the body is elevated the earth falls back on the eggs and covers 
them. They are perfectly round, white and hard and are sought for 
food by man and the lower animals. From twenty to one hundred 
may be laid in one nest, according to the size of the parent. A cor- 
respondent in the American Naturalist, for July, 1895, page 676, 
gives the following description of a turtle's nest: 

•*0n June 16, 1894, I saw a snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina, 
in the course of two hours, dig a hole and in it lay twenty-two 6ggs. 
The hole was dug in gravel and was small at the top, but when an 
inch below the surface of the ground, it widened, and when finished 
was three inches in diameter and about four inches deep. The dig- 
ging was done entirely by the hind feet used alternately. 

"The eggs were crowded in place by the hind feet, as fast as they 
were laid. Then the hole was filled even with the rest of the ground. 
The nearest water was a small stream about thirty feet distant. 

Our laboratory studies of the food of the Common Snapping 
Turtle have given interesting results, as follows: 

Food Chart of Snapping Turtle (C. serpentina). 
(Number with food, 19). 


Algse (low water plants), 

vSeeds, undetermined, 

Leaves, undetermined, , 

Apple seeds, 

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus fcetida) leaves, . . 

No. Per 
















Animal .Mai tcr 

Molliisca (Snails and SlM»is) 

Snails (Ik'lix) 

IVind Snails 


Crustacea, Cambarus sp. (('la.vtisb), . . . 


Undoterniiuod Insects 

lleniiptoia (Hugs) 

C'orisida', Corisa «i). iWalci- liu<;s). 

Peutatomidae, (Stink Bufjs) 

Diptora (Flies), 

Stratiomyiid (Fly) larva 

Coh'oplera (Fieetles) 


Water Beetle larva 

Hydrophilida\ Water Scavengers, 

Dytiscidip. Diving Beetles, 

Gyrindiie, Whirligig Beetles 

Vertebrata (Vertebrates) 

Undetermined species (flesh) 

Pisces (fishes) 

Undetermined fish 

Catostomida^ (Suckers) 

Batrachia (Frogs, etc.), Rana sp 

Ophidia (Serpents) 

Aves (Birds) 

Mammalia (Mammals) 


Murida? (Mice) 

Leporida^ (Rabbits), Lepus sp 

No. Per Onit. 




*> 1 1 

• » 

~ 1 . 1 

















10. 5 






20. 3 

































Nineteen specimens of Snapping Turtles wtMc found to contain 
food, of which five contained vegetable matter. In two were found 
.Vlga^ or low forms of aquatic plants, while in two others were found 
fiagments of leaves, and in one seeds were found. Three had fed 
upon grasses, which were undeterminable, and one had eaten the 
leaves of the Skunk Cabbage. Another was found to contain apple 
seeds, indicating that it would feed upon such fruit when available. 

All of the specimens of Snai>ping Turtb'S containing food were 
found to contain animal matter, seven of which bad eaten Mollusks. 
Of these one had eaten a slug or shell-less snail (Limax), such as are 


coiiimonly destructive to garden plants, and four had devoured land 
snails with shells (Helix) while two had eaten pond snails of the 
species co.mmouly found in the quiet waters of this State. In feed- 
ing upon the slugs and snails the Snapping Turtles show themselves 
to be decidedly beueficiaL Twelve of the Snappers, or over half 
of the total number containing food, were found to have eaten cray- 
fish. In making such a high record they show a particular fondness 
for these aquatic animals. In fact, they are the most extensive 
reptilian enemies of the crayfish, and in this feature come into keen 
competition with some of the best fishes, such as black bass, sun 
fish, pike, pickerel and trout. 

Nine snapping turtles, or about half the number, were found 
to contain insects, of which two contained fragments so broken as 
to be undeterminable, and one had eaten a Stink Bug and another 
an aquatic insect, known as the Water Boatman (Corisa.) Two were 
found to have eaten the larvoe of moths, commonly known as worms, 
and in so doing were beneficial. Three had fed upon flies, all of 
which had eaten the flies in their immature stage, commonly called 
maggots. These were evidently the larvae of flies which live in the 
mud or water and were thus easily obtained by the turtles in their 
aquatic haunts. 

Seven specimens had eaten beetles, of which five contained fra^ 
ments that were so broken as to be undeterminable. Among the 
other food elements in these stomachs, were the Diving Beetle, the 
Whirligig Beetle, Water Scavengers, and the larvae of other beetles. 
These show a direct contrast to the Coleopterous or beetle food of 
the Blue-tailed Lizard, which, while larger in percentage of land- 
inhabiting beetles, contained none of the aquatic forms. Of course, 
the Snapping Turtles live in and near the water and would be ex- 
pected to feed on the water-inhabiting or sub-aquatic insects if on 
any. Thus we have a good example of the relationship of the sur- 
roundings to the food element. 

Seven specimens, or more than one-third of the total number con- 
taining food, were found to have eaten vertebrate animals of some 
kind. In many cases there was more than one object in the stom- 
ach, and upon separating this material two were found to contain 
fishes, one of which was a sucker. One Snapping Turtle had eaten a 
frog, while two had devoured snakes, which were so nearly digested 
as to be undeterminable in regard to species. One had eaten a bird, 
and four had fed on mammals or so called quadrupeds. Two of 
these contained mice, while one had actually devoured a rabbit. 

A review of the food of the Snapping Turtles shows that this con- 
sists chiefly of aquatic creatures, mostly crayfish, and also v«rte- 


lir'aU-s of such species as may Ik- ritlicr captured or I'ouimI dead. Tin? 
Snapper is a scavenger and \\ill often eat dead material. This may 
account for some of the unexpected food elemenls discovered. 

It is well known that the Snapping Turtle is an enemy to young 
ducks and frequ<'ntly pulls down these fowls a« they swim on the 
water in wliich the reptiles live. It is also known that it feeds 
readily upon nfuse of various kinds, as it is customary in many 
parts of the count ly to capture it and put it in a swill barrel, where 
it i.s kept to fatten upon tlie refuse from the table until such time aa 
it is considered til meat for the table. 

We have found very young Snai»ping Turtles feeding upon insects 
especially beetles, and also upon small fishes, especially suckers, and 
upon craytish or so-called fresh water crabs, and snails. These were 
very small sjteciniens. beintj^ iiol over five centimeters or two inches 
in length. 

Other authors have mentioned the food of the Snapi)ing Turtle 
as follows: 

''Any live thing it can overpower; fish and waterfowl." — Nash. 

"Feeds largely on fish, at times apparently under water." — Fowler. 

"Feeds on fish, reptiles or any animal substance," — Holbrook. 

"'\Vholly carnivorous, eats fish, frogs, waterfowl, crayfishes. Ac- 
cused of capturing young ducks. Found a robin in one's stomach." 

"Fish and waterfowl." — Cuvier. 

"Fish, ducklings." — Shaw. 

"Fish." — LeConte. 

"Fish, young waterfowl, always ftH'ds under water." — Ditraars. 

A labuhilion of the materials definitely found in the stomachs of 
Snaj>ping Tnitles by other observers or writers is given in the fol- 
lowing list: 

Crayfish (ETay). Fish (ITolbrook. Ilay, Cuvier, Shaw, Ditmars. Le- 
Conte), Frog (Hay), Kcptiles dlolbrooU). Waterfowl (Hay. Cnvier, 
Ditmars). K'obin (TTny). Voini^ Ducks (Day. Shaw). 

\'arious writers gi\e interesting points concerning the feeding 
habits of tlie Snapping Turtle, as follows: 

''Destroy young ducks and fish, often attacking th<Mr own species." 
— Cnvier. 

''Extremely voracious, feeding on fish, reptiles or any other animal 
substance that falls their way." — Holbrook. 


"Feeds upon frogs and fishes and snaps greedily at ducks in ponds, 
dragging them under water to be devoured at leisure." — DeKay. 

•'Fish form the large portion of food. Young waterfowl are pulled 
below the surface to drown and to be quickly torn to pieces by the 
keen mandibles assisted by the front limbs. This Turtle Is entirely 
carnivorous. It never feeds unless under water, even though some- 
times seizing prey out of the water, it appears unable to swallow 
unless the head is under water." — Ditmars. 

On the whole, the Snapping Turtle is more destructive than bene- 
ficial in its feeding habits, particularly as it is liable to be a very 
serious enemy of young ducks in pouds. It will continue to feed 
upon them until the entire number that frequent such waters will 
have disappeared. When this species occurs in a pond where water- 
fowl are desired, it is best to bait a strong fish hook with tainted 
meat or with cotton mixed with dough, and by means of a thin wire 
tie this to a stake three or four feet long, which is slender enought to 
spring or bend when pulled, and stick the stake into the mud at the 
bank of the stream, throwing the hook into the water. By this 
method the turtle is liable to be captured. 


The Turtles of this family can be recognized by the claws being 
generally five in front and four behind. The tail is without crests 
or spines; the lower jaw ends in a sharp point; carapace in general 
highest behind the middle and composed of nine or eleven plates 
with its edge meeting the plastron nearly vertically, and not flaring 
out around the edge of the shell. The plastron has two lobes or 
doors, one in front and one behind, so arranged as to swing as on 
hinges, closing the shell more or less, forming a box, and thus being 
responsible for the name "Box Turtles" being applied to this family. 
Two genera and two species in this family are found in Pennsyl- 
vania. These may be distinguished as follows: 

A. Hinder or posterior lobe of the plastron about the same length 
as front or anterior lobe, both moving freely on hinges and capable 
of closing the shell tightly. Carapace or upper shell without keel. 
Kinosternon pennsylvanicum (Bosc). Mud Turtle. 

AA. Hinder lobe of plastron longer than the front and squarely 
cut off behind but not notched. Both lobes but little movable and 
incapable of closing the shell. Carapace with keel or ridge. Arom- 
ochelys odoratus (Latreille). Musk Turtle. 


Fig. 4. Mud Turtle. View of carapace, plastron and left side view of com- 
plete Bpeclmen. (Slightly reduced). Drawn by W. R. W»lton, Artist. In the 
Laboratory of H. A. Surface, State Zoologist. 


Species 5. Kinosternon pennsylvanicum (Bosc). The Mud Turtle. 
[ Ginosternum pennsylvanimim (Bosc).] 

This Turtle is variously known by the following names: Mud 
Turtle, Mud Terrapin, Eastern Mud Turtle, Common Mud Turtle, 
Pennsylvania Tortoise, Small Mud Turtle, Mud Digger, Mush Turtle 
and Mud Tortoise. The of the genus is fsoni the Greek and 
means "moving breast," in reference to the lobe of the plastron 
which can be moved to close the shell. The common name "Mud 
Turtle" is, of course, in reference to its frequenting muddy places, 
and the term "Musk Thrtle" refers to its odor, although this name 
should be reserved for the next species. 

The description of the Mud Turtle is as follows, taken mostly 
from Jordon and Fowler, and compared also with preserved speci- 
mens : 

Carapace rather long and narrow, highest usually back of the 
middle, rising gradually from the front and terminating abruptly at 
posterior end; margin of carapace turning downward and inward 
rather than outward. Plastron nearly sufficient to enclose the whole 
body by hinge action, before and behind. The skin of the neck has 
some rounded fleshy tubercles. Eyes far forward, limbs small, slen- 
der, feet short. Posterior lobe of plastron notched. Carapace with- 
out a trace of keel, and scales smooth in adult. Size of adult rarely, 
if ever, exceeding four inches. Shell dusky brown; scales narrowly 
lined with black; head dark, with light dots. Plastron pale yellow 
to horny brown, or with both colors present, with angular striae 
and scales with dull olive-tinted margins. Head, neck and exposed 
skin muddy-brown, paler on lower surfaces. Iris brown. 

We are unfortunate in having no specimens of the Mud Ttirtle 
collected within the State of Pennsylvania, although it occurs in this 
Commonwealth. We invite friends to aid us in obtaining a few 
specimens from this State for further study. It is found through- 
out the Eastern United States from New York to the Gulf of Mexico, 
and westward to the Mississippi Valley. 

Stone gives its occurrence in this region as the south-eastern part 
of Pennsylvania. 

Hay says, "This turtle remains about ponds and muddy ditches, 
where it can bury itself in the mud whenever it becomes alarmed. 
It is more inclined to seek protection in its own shell than, is odora- 
tus. Takes the hook readily, but nibbles the angler's bait so slyly 
that their presence is not observed for some time." 

Holbrook mentions the fact that this turtle takes a hook readily, 
and is therefore troublesome to anglers, seizing the bait so cau- 
tionsl^y tliat it is fiome minutes before it is im\j liook<?d, when it 


strugjjles violently. It is said (o he less dI" m Walcr Turtle tli;m 
others of its family, and may biiridw in <liy jiiomul where it also 

Fowler says, "It was vciy abiiiulaiil all about the swamps of 
Eastern New Jersey and was shy, l)nt easily taken in a small dip net. 
They swim well, are nonresislant and not so odorifeious as tlie next 
species. It reaches about six inches in lenj^th of carapace, an<l 
many small ones were to be seen. This species is active as late as 

Ilays rejwrts that the ej;gs arc similar to those of the Musk Turtle, 
and are laid in like situations. 

Ditmars says, "The abodes are practically identical with odorofvs. 
This is at i>erfect ease in a deep aquarium with no means of leaving 
the water. They are strictly aquatic when in the wild state and 
prowl about the muddy bottom of rivers and ponds in search of 

The Mud Turtle is reported by vaiious authors as feeding upon 
aquatic animals, tish, repliles and insects. In its feeding habits it 
is piobably not seriously objectionable from an economic stand- 

Species (5. Aromochelys odoratus (Latreille). The Musk Turtle, 
[Sternothwrits odoratus (Latreille).] 

The Musk Turtle is variously known by the common name here 
used, as well as the Musk Tortoise, Stink Pot, Mud Terrapin, Mud 
Turtle, Common Musk Turtle and ]\Iud Tortoise. Various authors 
have used these different terms. To avoid confusion it would be 
better if we should adhere to the uniform term of ''Musk Turtle", 
although customs can not well be changed. 

Tlie description is as follows: 

Carapace long and narrow, high-arched, highest behind the middle, 
rising more gradually anterioi-ly than descending posteriorly. 
Mai-gin of carapace turning downward and inwai'd rather than out- 
ward; plastron insufficiently flexible or projecting back to (Mose the 
.^uell. Head, large, pointed, jaws strong, eyes far forw'ard, limbs 
slender, feet short. Plastron with posterior lobe truncated. Car- 
apace somewhat keeled but plates not over-lapping in adult. Shell 
dusky, clouded, sometimes s]>ot(ed oi- dashed with black, but usually 
with color and plates obscured with moss. Neck with two yellow 
stripes, one from above, the other from below, the eye. The skin of 
the neck has a number of j»ointed fleshy tubercles especially above. 
Odor musky. General ajq^earance suggests a Snapping Turtle, 
though this species seldom if ever exceeds four inches iq length. 
Plastron dark yellow or brown. 


Fig. e. MuBk Turtle, •howlng carapace, pIa»troB, left ilde view ot Bhell and 
also of head and tall. (Nat. •Ize.) Drawn by W. R. Walton, In Laboratory of 
H. A. Surface, State Zooloslst 


The Musk Turtlf occurs froui Canada to the Gulf of Mexico aud 
westward to Michipui and Northern Illinois. Nash reports it from 
Lake Erie and St. Clair. Sniilli re[)ortH it from Michigan, and Stone 
cites its occurrence in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey. It is a species which is probably confined in the State 
chiefly to the eastern and southeastern |K)rtions. Our Pennsylvania 
collections indicate its occurrence as follows: 

Berks county, Gruber, C. L., Kutztown. 
Chester county, llarker, Herbert, Westtown. 
Cumberland county. Zoological Division, Eberley's Mill. 
Dauphin county. Zoological Ottice, Harrisburg. 
Dauphin county, Paine, F. ,]., Flarrisburg. 
Lebanon county, Derickson, S. H., Annville. 
Monroe county, Roberts, Geo. C, Stroudsburg. 
Perry county, Showalter, C. E., Landisburg. 
Philadelphia county. Miller, Richard F., Bridesburg, 

It is very common locally in certain waters, although apparently 
not found in others. It is one of our smallest turtles, well known 
for its strong musky odor. 

Holbrook says this species chooses slow moving or muddy waters, 
and is very abundant in the ditches of rice fields in Carolina. "A 
very much bolder animal than pennsylvanicnm^ and bites very 
severely when provoked. \\'hen taken alive it emits a very strong 
and disagreeable odor of musk." 

Hay gives the following very interesting account of its habits: 

"It is essentially an acpialic tortoise. Fre(iuents the deep i)arts 
of ponds and small lakes. Is^ timid and prefers to seek safety in 
concealment or in retreat, to defending itself actively. Neverthe- 
less it is not altogether mild, since it will, when prevented from 
escaping, put out its head slowly and close its jaws on its assailant 
with a sudden snap. Is often seen basking in the sun on some 
projecting rock or on some fallen tree, from which on the smallest 
alarm it drops off into the water. Strong, musky odor.'' 

Eugene Smith adds the following interesting comment: 

"It gives off a fetid, musky odor. It is a very voracious animal, a 
vicious biter, and altogether is a small understudy of the Snapping 
Turtle. Older specimens frequently are overgrown with confervae 
and plentifully covered with leeches. They are quite active, and 
when very small can be kept with fishes in the aquarium. They are 
slow growers, and will live for years in captivity, apparently better 
than any other of our turtles." 

*'The eggs are laid in holes in the gand which the turtle excavates 
with the hind fPPt. These eggs are tl>ree to five in number, eJoo- 

3 . _. ! 


gate, elliptical, a little over one inch long, with a hard smooth shell. 
One which Agassiz kept in confinement laid after June." — (Hay.) 

Our studies of the food of four specimens of this species have 
given the following facts: 

No. Per Cent. 

Mollusca, 2 50 

Snails, 2 50 

Insecta, 3 75 

Orthoptera, (Crickets, Grasshoppers), 1 25 

Gryllus pennsylvanicus 1 25 

Lepidoptera, (Moths, etc.), 2 50 

Larvae, 2 50 

Coleoptera, (Beetles), 2 50 

Undetermined fragments, 1 25 

Carabidae — Undet., (Ground Beetles), 1 25 

Four specimens of Musk Turtle were found to contain food, of 
which two had eaten snails of the land-inhabiting species (Genus 
Helix), and three were found to contain insects. One of these had 
devoured a common cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus), and two had 
eaten beetles. One of the last-named insects was a Ground Beetle, 
but was so broken as to be undeterminable to species. 

It is evident that they feed almost wholly upon mollusks and 
insects, and thus must be recognized as being decidedly beneficial 
rather than destructive. It will be noted that no fishes or other 
vertebrate animals were found in the stomachs thus examined. 
What may be revealed by further studies remains yet to be seen. 

It is interesting to compare these results with the statements 
Made by other authors, among which are the following: 

^'The food is small fish or smaller reptiles, such as tadpoles." — 

''Food probably mostly or altogether of animal origin." — Hay. 

''Takes fisherman's hook baited with small fish or worms, searches 
for food at the bottom of rivers or ponds, feeds readily in captivity." 
— Ditmars. 

It will be seen that this turtle is charged in literature with feed- 
ing upon vertebrates, and no mention is made of its invertebrate 
food, excepting indirectly in the statement that "it eats worms on 
hooks." We are convinced that further study of the Musk Turtle 
will reveal the fact that these creatures feed far more upon inverte- 
brates, such as mollusks and insects, than upon vertebrates, and 
consequently are to be classed as being more beneficial from an 
economic standpoint than has generally been supposed.- 



The Fourth aud last Family of Tint Ir.s round in this Slate in 
eludes eleven ditTei-«'nt species, and is (•((nse(inen(ly by far the 
largest. They are calh'il I'ond Turth's not Ix'cause they are found 
exclusively in ponds, but because they are most common in such 
places. They are to be re<-o<^nized by the (\V(d\(' plates compi'isinj; 
the plastron or under- shcdl. the carapace oi- upper part of the shell 
beinj;; hij^her at alxuit the middle, its edge flaring outward, and the 
lower jaw without a long point at the union or tips. As with the 
Box Turtles, the tail is short and without a crest, and the plastron 
is broad. Also the claws are mostly five in front and four behind. 
Generally the lobes of the plastron are not hinged, but sometimes 
the anti'rioi' lobe moves on a transverse hinge, and rarely the pos- 
terior lobe can be so moved, thus enabling the animal to completely 
close the shell. 

About eighty species of I'ond Turtles are known, of which eleven 
are found or may reasonably be expected within the borders of 
I'ennsylvania. These belong to seven Genera, which are distin- 
guished by the following analytic key: 

Key to Families and Species of Emydidae or Pond Turtles. 

(A) No hinged piece in plastron or lower shell. 

(B) Alveolar or crushing surface of jaws broad; carapace low; 
toes short, broadly webbed. 

(C) Crushing surface of jaws smooth with a deep groove in front; 
upper jaw not notched in front; head covered with soft skin; cara- 
pace more or less keeled. 

(D) Lower jaw with a spoon-shaped dilation at tip. Genus 
Graptemys (Agassiz). 

(E) Middle series of plates on back scarcely overlapping. Sp. 7. 
Graptemys geographicus. Map Turtle. 

(EE) Middle series of plates on back distinctly overlapping. Sp. 
8. Graptemys pseudogeographicus. False Map Turtle. 

(DD) Lower jaw without spoon-shaped dilation at tip. Genus 
Malaclemmys; Sp. 9. Malaclemmys centrata. Diamond-back. 

(CC) Crushing surface of upper jaw divided by a longitudinal 
ridge paralled with margin; upper jaw notched in front (in all but 
species 11); head with thin hard skin; carapace scarcely keeled. 
Genus Pseudeinys. 

(E) Jaws coarsely toothed. Sp. 10. Pseudemys rubriventris. 
Red-bellied Terrapin. 

(EE) Jaws not toothed or serrated. Sp. II. Pseudemys hiero- 
glyphica. Hieroglyphic Turtle. 

(BB) Crushing surface of jaws narrow. 


(F) Shell low, never keeled; toes strong, broadly webbed; hind 
feet much larger. Genus Chrysemys. The Painted Turtles. 

(G) Plates of carapace in straight rows across back. Sp. 12. 
Chrysemys picta. Painted Turtle. 

(GG) Plates of carapace alternating, so that the two side rows 
are not in line with the middle one across back. Sp. 13. Chrysemys 
marginata. Margined Turtle. 

(FF) Carapace much arched; feet nearly equal in size; toes 
narrowly webbed. Genus Clemmys. 

(H) Carapace usually more or less keeled, upper jaw deeply 
notched and edge strongly arched downward. 

(I) Head not notably narrower below than above. Sp. 14. 
Clemmys muhlenbergi. Muhlenberg's Turtle. 

(II) Head decidedly narrower below than above. Sp. 15. 
Clemmys insculptus. Wood Turtle. 

(HH) Carapace not keeled; tipper jaw but slightly notched, its 
edge nearly straight. Sp. 16. Clemmys guttatus. Speckled Turtle. 

(AA) Plastron or lower shell with a movable hinge across its 

(J) Body depressed or flattened; plasteron notched behind; toes 
well webbed, aquatic. Genus Emydoidea. Sp. 17. Emydoidea 
blandingi. Blanding's Turtle. 

(JJ) Body short, high and well arched; plastron rounded or 
squarely cut ofif but not notched behind; toes scarcely webbed, not 
aquatic. Genus Terrapene. Sp. 18. Terrapene Carolina. Common 
Box Turtle. 

Species 7. Graptemys geographicus (Le Sueur). The Map Tlirtle. 
[Malacoclemmys geographicus (Le Sueur).] 

The Map Turtle has been designated the Geographic Tortoise, the 
Map Tortoise, the Geographic Terrapin and the Lake Erie Tortoise. 
It is interesting to note that the last name was used by Baron 
Cuvier in 1831, Vol. IX, page 75. 

It is described as follows : 

Carapace ovate, not strongly convex, margin flaring out, median 
keel present, but dull; margin strongly notched behind; plastron 
fixed, notched behind, covering whole under surface. Upper jaw 
not notched, crushing surface smooth. Toes broadly webbed. Plas- 
tron yellowish, carapace, dark olive brown, with greenish and yel- 
lowish streaks and reticulations on edges; neck and legs similarly 
marked; plates of carapace scarcely oyerlaping. The miirginal 
shields underneath gbow roooded marks within rounded xn&vks, of 


olive color, ou yellowish ^^roiiiul. Fcinalc largi-r than iiiali', some- 
J lilies attains the lenj^th (shell measure) of twelve inches. Lower 
jaw a spoon shaped dilatation at tip. 

This is mostly a western turtle, its ran<;e being given by Dr. 
Jordau as from Mississippi Valley east to New York. Nash says 
it is found in Western Ontario and has occurred in Eastern Ontario, 
^^toiie reports it from New Jersey, and Harlan from Lake Erie. It 


Fig. 6. Map Turtle, showing complete dorsal view, view of plastron and left 
side view of head. (About 1-3 size of original.) Drawn by W. R. Walton, in 
offlre of H. A. Surface, Harrisburg, Pa. 

is possible that its chief occurrence in reunsylvauia would be in the 
western part of the State. The only specimen which we have was 
contributed by A. G. Riggle, of Cochran Mills, Armstrong county, 
Pa. This specimen contained only crayfishes or so-called fresh- 
water crabs, and was valuable in giving us a definite point on loca- 
tion and food of this species as known within this State. We hope 
to receive or collect others and learn more about its distribution and 
food in this Commonwealth. 


But little is to be found in literature concerning the habits and 
haunts of the Map Turtle, chiefly because it is rare as an eastern 
species, where most of our writers have made their observations. 
Hay says that ''the food consists of animals of various kinds," and 
Prof. Gorman found by strict examinations that those which he dis- 
sected had fed exclusively upon mollusks, the young eating the thin- 
shelled species and the adults the larger and thicker kinds. "Thirty 
specimens caught at Lake Maxinkuckee, Indiana, were found to con- 
tain opercles of water gastropods, and one the remains of a cray- 
fish, some fish scales and what were apparently caddice worm cases. 
Its broad masticatory surfaces are well fitted for crushing the shells 
of mollusks." — Hay, page 576. 

"Will eat chopped fish, meat, meal worms, earth worms and soft- 
bodied grubs in captivity. Observed to eat the edges of water lily 
pads. None wintered alive in ponds in New York. Evidently some 
article of food was lacking." — Ditmars Reptile Book, page 44. 

Hay found sixteen eggs in a large female Map Turtle, and reports 
a character in common with most species of turtles, that the 
females seemed to be larger than the males. There is very little 
published concerning the egg-laying habits, young or food of this 
turtle, but it is evident that it is more beneficial than obnoxious, 
because it feeds mostly upon invertebrates rather than upon fishes. 
DeKay, page 19, makes an interesting statement; "It is not un- 
common in the streams of New York falling into Lake Erie. I am 
assured that their flesh is very palatable. They are exceedingly 
active and vigorous." 

Species 8. Graptemys pseudogeographicus (Holb.). The False Map 
Turtle. [Malacoclemmys pseudographicus (Holb.).] 

The False Map Turtle is given this common name by the plain 
translation of its specific name which means "false map.". The 
"map" refers to the marks on the shell. This turtle has been called 
the Pseudographio Tortoise and Le Sueur's Map Turtle. Both 
names seem unfitted as common names, and we offer this as one 
which would be distinctive and at the same time indicate the proper 
species to which it should be applied. 

It is similar to geographicus, but grayer, the markings on the 
shell paler, less distinct and in larger pattern; keel of carapace 
stronger, each plate of the vertebral series with a blackish projec- 
tion behind, which is more or less imbricated over the succeeding 
plate; plastron yellowish, marbled; with blackish head; neck and 
legs with bright yellow stripes. 

This turtle is given in literature as occurring in Michigan, Ohio, 
Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana. 
DeKay also reports its occurrence in Lake Erie. We have no evi- 


dence of its direct orcuriciui' in I'eunsylvania, but are satisfied that 
it should be listed in the Peunsylvania lauiia on the basis of its 
occurrence in Ijake Erie and Ohio. 

"It is entirely aiiuatic; and (liougli trecjuently seen on fallen trees 
or rocks that rise above the water, yet it only seeks the land in the 
breeding; season. Inhabits many of (he rivers tliat empty into the 
Mississippi, but has been found to the eastward of the Allegheny 
range." — Holbrook, page 106. 

"It comes out of the water to deposit eggs. Eggs are large, being 
an inch and a half in the longest, and an inch in the shortest 
diameter. According to Agassiz, this species deposits its eggs 
earlier in the season than any other of our turtles. At Natchez, 
Miss., one was found to have laid her eggs as early as the first of 

"An eminently aquatic tortoise, spending its life in rivers, lakes 
and ponds, and coming out of the water only to bask in the sun on 
some rock or fallen tree, or to deposit its eggs. This species does 
not appear to be ehiployed to any considerable extent as food, yet 
there seems to be no reason why its flesh should not be as savory 
as that of many species which are highly esteemed." — Hay, page 574. 

Comparatively little is known concerning the food and feeding 
habits of this Turtle, excepting that it is said to feed upon very 
small fish, reptiles, etc. While it is quite rare in this State, it 
can be expected in the western and northwestern portions, and we 
hope to hear from persons who are interested in aiding us to obtain 
specimens from those regions. 

Species 9. Malaclemmys centrata (Latr.). Diamond-Back. [Mal- 
acodemmys centrata (Latr.).] 

The famous "Diamond-Back" or Diamond Back Turtle variously 
known by other names such as Salt Marsh Turtle, Concentric Turtle, 
The Terrapin and Diamond Back Terrapin, Salt Marsh Terrapin, and 
Salt Water Terrapin, is mostly known as the Diamond-Back, but is 
frequently called the Salt Marsh Turtle. It receives its first 
common name from the diamond shaix'd markings on the carapace, 
but of course the other common name refers to its place of living. 

The Diamond-Back occurs in salt marshes of tJie coast of the 
Atlantic and the Gulf from Massachusetts to Texas. Stone reports 
it as being rare in New Jersey. In Pennsylvania it is indeed more 
rare if found at all. It may have lived at one time in the extreme 
southeastern corner of Pennsylvania but owing to its high value as 
food and the great persistence with which it was hunted, it is no 
doubt exterminated in our Commonwealth at the present time. 


The carapace is ovate, broadest behind, margin flaring, not 
strongly convex, phites usually with concentric grooves and stripes; 
l)lastrou covering under surface, plates with concentric grooves and 
radiating stripes. Color of carapace greenish or dark olive, rarely 
black, the plates sometimes marked at center with yellow. Lower 
jaw without spoon-shaped dilation. 

The Diamond-Back is found frequently in salt or brackish streams 
of the marshes, near the sea shore. It buries in mud in the winter 
and is taken from the mud in the fall, winter and spring at the time 
when it is fat and in the best possible condition for the table. They 
are now becoming rare and generally some less desirable turtle is 
substituted for them, as the price is very high. This has always 
been considered the most delicious of our turtles and in fact one of 
the most desirable kinds of food for mankind. 

Fig. 7. Diamond-back Turtle. Figures showing dorsal, ventral and left side 
views of shell. (One-half size of original.) Drawn by W. R. "Walton, in office 
of H. A. Surface, State Zoologist. 

Holbrook says, "It lives in salt water and in salt marshes, where 
it hibernates; far from these it is never seen. It is timid, easily 
disturbed, and hides on least alarm. Swims with great rapidity 
and moves quickly even on land. Is easily taken at time of egg- 
laying. Flesh is excellent at all times, but most popular during 
hibernation period." — Holbrook, p. 90. 

It is said that this trutle is systematically reared for market, 
although it is doubtful if such business would become profitable on 
account of their slow growth and multiplication, as this species 
lays only 6 or 7 eggs at a time. 

''It is found in the salt marshes of New Jersey, scarce and rather 
difficult to procure. They crawl out of the creeks on the advent of 
frost and seek winter-quarters by hibernating in the black mud 


iilon;,' llir l);iiiks. This is ^fiiciiillv a sliort distainr from tho 
wali'i's (•<!};»■. They bury a foot or so in llic mud and remain thei-f 
all winlci". NNlicii siniiij^ approaclics llu-y revive and move out. 
Sx)mfiim(s they eoutinue for (|ui(e a distance up a stream or inh't, 
(ill a favored locality is found. My means of (he dis(url)an(e *hey 
have caused in (he nuid wheic (hey have attempted to burrow they 
may be successfully trailed. They are eagerly sought on account of 
(heir hij^^h market value. Six inches is a common size, and eight 
inches unusual." — Fowler, pp. '2'A\'2'.V2. 

The female deposits her eggs in loose soil in the spring or early 
summer, leaving the water foi- this purj)OSe. They lay only five to 
seven eggs at a time and thus their multiplication is not rapid. This 
is (he one turtle that regularly frequents salt marshes, and excepting 
(he Sea Turtles is the only one I hat lives in salt water. 

l)i(mars says that the Diamond Back in captivity eats chopped 
clams and oysters, some fish and raw meat, and it is also fond of 
small periwinkle snails. He has (d)served one eating a small crab 
on the seashore. In captivity i( has been known to nibble lettuce 
leaves and will pi*obably eat sea weed when wild. 

Having had none to examine we cannot report the food from 
personal observations. 

Species 10. Pseudemys rubriventris (Lee). Red Bellied Terrapin. 

The Red Bellied Terrapin has been referred to in literature not 
only by its common name, but also as Potter, Red Bellied Turtle, 
Skill Pot, and Slider. The first common name is, of course, taken 
from (he color of the under side, while it is sometimes called the 
"Slider" fiom (he liabi( of sliding from banks, rocks or logs into the 
water when alarme^. This (nrlle is found from New Jereey to 
X'irginia, and has been reported as being common in the Delaware 
river near Trenton. It is also reported as being found in the 
eastern part of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Mary- 
land, the (wo Virginias and North Carolina. 

Holbrook says "It is frequently brought to the Philadelphia 
market from both the Delaware and Suscjuehauna river systems" 
and Ix^Conte says "it is common in the Delaware river near Tren- 

This species has the general character of geo(jraphicu8^ but with 
alveolar surface of upper jaw divided by a longitudinal ridge par 
allel to margin; upper jaw notched in front; head wi(h (hin hard 
skin; carapace without median keel but with (wo mediolateral short 
ridg(^s. Loose skin betwe<'n legs without scales, ridge in alveolar 
surface of jaw tuberculate. Young marked with confluent, lozenge- 
shajR'd figures. Jaws ct)arsely serrated; iM)iu( of upper jaw with a 


prominent hook. Dusky, with irregular markings above; marginal 
plates with much red; plastron red or partly yellowish; head and 
neck brown, with numerous parallel stripes all of which are yellow; 
variable. Length about twelve inches. Shell serrated at rear mar- 

Holbrook says this turtle is met with in "^running water, prefer- 
ably with a rocky bed." Tliis differs materially from some of the 
other turtles which prefer decidedly quite, muddy water. Eugene 
Smith says ''The Slider is much used as a substitute for the real 
Diamond Back Terrapin now that the latter is becoming scarce." 
We have no specimens of this species, and would ask for both 
specimens and notes on observations of its habits. 

Species 11. Pseudemys hieroglyphica (Holbrook). The Hierogly- 
phic Tnrtle. 

This turtle has no distinctive common name other than that which 
refers to the specific name given it by Holbrook. This refers to the 
hieroglyphics or peculiar markings on its back. It is a turtle about 
which comparatively' little is known, and comparatively few speci- 
mens have been seen in this State. It occurs from New York to 
Wisconsin and southward. It is decidedly limited in its distribu- 
tion, having only isolated regions here and there in which it appears. 

The Hieroglyphic Turtle differs from P. rubriventris in lacking 
the serrations of the jaw and in having the carapace smooth, olive- 
brown, variously marked with reticulated or concentric yellowish 
lines, plastron yellowish, and a dark blotch on the border of each 
marginal shield. Shell, when twelve inches long, only three inches 

"Nothing is known about its habits. It 1% undoubtedly entirely 
aquatic." — Hay. 

As we have had no opportunity to examine specimens of this 
turtle we cannot give any personal observations nor can we find 
any definite statement published concerning its haunts and habits, 
6ggs, young, food or economic features. 

Species 12. Chrysemys picta (Hermann). Painted Turtle. 

The Painted Turtle has been variously called Mud Turtle, Pond 
Turtle, Chequered Tortoise, Painted Terrapin, Yellow-belly, Yellow- 
bellied Terrapin, Painted Tortoise, and Chequered Terrapin. While 
it is a mud turtle, this name is applied to several species and it 
would be better to set it aside for only one species and thus avoid 
confusion. It is best known as the "Painted Turtle", not only on 
account of its bright colors, but also because the specific name, 
"picta" means "painted" and refers to this feature. 


It is found ill the Easti'i-u United Slates from Now Riuuswick to 
tlie <J\ilf of Mexico and westward to Louisiana. Tho Allegheny 
Mountains form almost a sliaip ltoundai;v line hctwcon this and the 
next species, which is no doubt its western foini. Whether they 
shouhl be recorded as distinct species or not is bfl for others to 

Fig. 8. Painted Turtle, showing complete dorsal view and outline of plastron. 
(One-half nat. size.) Drawn by W. R. Walton, in Laboratory of Pa. State 

The I'ainted Turtle has the carai)ace ovate, depressed, without 

keel, smooth, mar«;in llaiiiif; sli^^htly, never serrated posteriorly and 

but slightly notched. I'lastron immovable. .Alveolar surface of 

jaw narrow, well marked except in front ; upper jaw notched in 

front. Olive or greenish black, plates margined with }>aler, oj)- 

jmsite, slightly imbricated; marginal plates marked with bright red; 

plastron yellow, often blotched with brown. Length of shell 

occasionallv six inches. 


Tliis is one of the (0111111011 turtles seen in ponds, ditches, and 
shallow streams, in rows ou stones, logs and banks, and which upon 
the slighest alarm slide into the water and hide in mud, swim away, 
or stir up the mud and thus cloud the water so as to be concealed. 

Holbrook says of the Painted Turtle that it "frequents ditches, 
ponds and pools, is abundant in rivers where the water is sluggish; 
spends almost the whole day basking in the sun on the banks of 
rivers, or on fallen trees or logs. Is very timid and escapes rapidly 
when disturbed. Hibernates early and is first to be seen in the 
spring. It takes the angler's hook readily. Its flesh is sometimes 
eaten but not much esteemed." 

It hibernates in the deeper water of quiet ponds, especially where 
there is an accumulation of submerged leaves. In seining for 
fishes in the fall of the year, we have frequently caught -the net full 
of turtles of this species in such place. 

There is no good rule for distinguishing the sexes in this species. 
The usual rule of males having concavity in plastron does not hold 
here. There is a difference in body proportions. This was deter- 
mined by measuring a known number of males and females and 
working out the ratios of length to width and height. The following 
is a tabulated statement of the results of measurements of 29 males 
and 19 females. 

Length greater than height, 

Length greater than width, 

2.64 — = 2.82 


= 1.47 

This condensed table means that in the males the length is 2.64 
.times the height and 1.21 times the width, while in the females the 
length is 2.82 times the height and 1.47 times the width. It is thus 
shown that the females are proportionately higher and broader 
than the males, while they beconie not only proportionately but 
actually larger in all dimensions. 

Our Pennsylvania collections of this species have been as follows: 

Berks county, Boyertown High School, Boyertown. 
Berks county, Gruber, C. L., Kutztown. 
Bucks county, Atkinson, Mrs. J. W., Buckingham. 
Centre county. Cook, C. M., Bellefonte. 


Coluuibia county, IJaldy, S., C'alaiwissa. 

Ciiiubcrlaiul counly, Zoolojjical Division, ('ani[) Hill. 

Dauphin county, Zooloj'ical Division, llariisbui};. 

Daupliin county, Fislici*, Hoyd, llanisbur};. 

Dauphin county, Zooloi^ical Division, lli^lispiic. 

Dauphin couuty, Koboch, F. D., W'illianistown. 

Daupliin county, Attaches of Zoological Division, Rockvillc. 

Dauphin county, Sober, Miss M. G., Dauphin. 

Fulton couuty, Palmer, G. A., Waifordsbuig. 

Fulton county, Jackson, R. L., McConnellsburg. 

Lancaster county, Wislar, J. J., Columbia. 

Luzerne cDunty, Campbell, E. W., Pittston. 

Lycominj; county, Koch, Aug., Williamsport. 

Lycoming county, Rothrock, 11 1*., ^^'illiamsport. 

Monroe county, Roberts. G. C, Stroudsburg. 

Northampton county, Kinney, L L,, Portland, 

l*erry county, Stewart, Wm., Landisburg. 

Schuylkill couuty, Ramberger, James, Blackwood. 

Wayne county, Bullock, W. H., Honesdale. 

W. H. Smith says this species "emits a piping note" and if so it 
must be regarded as one of the numerous species of creatures whose 
piping or "peeping" is heard in swamps in the spring. 

Professor Smith also adds that, ''after the eleventh year the 
female on a June evening, digs a vertical hole in which she de- 
posits her elliptical eggs." Report of Ohio, pg. G(J4. 

Prof. Louis Agassi/, in his contribution on Embryonic Turtles, pub- 
lished in 1857, says, "The process of reproduction by laying is not 
commenced before the 11th year. * * * « Enough has been 
seen to warrant the assumption that from the eleventh to the four- 
teenth year is about the age at which most, if not all our native 
fresh water turtles lay tlieir eggs for the first time." He also adds 
"Not one of our turtles makes more than a single nest. They de- 
l)Osit all their eggs at once. The Painted Turtle has an almost 
identical period of incubation with the Snapping Turtle, namely 
from the 11th to the 2yth of June." 

The Painted Turtle is known to lay only from five to seven eggs a 
year although more may be found within the body at any time. 
These do not all come to maturity during the same year. 

Of the eighty-six specimens of Painted Turtles dissected in our 
laboratory, the stomach contents were found to be as follows: 

No.* Per Cent. 

Vegetation, 63 73.2 

Cryptogams. (Flowcrless Plants) 32 37.4 

Algse, 30 35. 1 



Liverwort, (Marehaiilia polyniorpha), 

Sphagnum moss 

Pliauerogams. (Flowering I'iauts), 

Undetermined, (Flowering Plants), 

Undetermined leaves, 

Undetermined stems of plants, 

Undetermined seeds, 

Lepidium virginicum (Pepper Grass) seeds and 


Sambuens canadensis. Berries of Elder, 

Polygonum sp. seed, (Smartweed), 

Rumex sp. seed, (Dock), 

Peltandra virginica leaves, (Arum), 

Lemna sp. leaves, (Duck Weed) 


Animal matter, 

Mollusca, (Mollusks), 

Bivalves, (Clams, etc.), 


Pond Snails, 




Undetermined fragments, 

Larvae of insects, 

Aquatic nymphs, 

Odonata, (Dragon flies) 

Undetermined Nymphs of Dragon flies, .... 

Agrionidas, nymphs, 

Libellulida?, nymphs, 

Orthoptera, (Grasshoppers, etc.), 

Gryllida3, Gryllotalpa sp., Mole Cricket, .... 

Hemiptera, (Bugs), 

Belostomidse — Zaitha sp., 

Hydrobatida?, (Water Striders), 

JassidiP, (Leaf Hoppers), 

Neuroptera, larva, 

Lepidoptera, Moth larvje, 

Coleoptera, (Beetles), 

Undetermined fragments 


Carabidae, (Ground Beetles), 

Dytiscidae, (Diving Beetles) larvae, 

No. Per 



















































































No. Per Cent. 
Scarabaeid.i', Manodatl vliis sulis[iiii()Kiis, 

(Kose Biij,0, 1(1 1 1 . 

Chrysoinoluhv - Doiiacia sp., (Leaf IJivtle),.. 4 4.0 

KliviH'lioplioi'ous hectic. (Snout Jicctle), .... 1 i.l 

Diptera, (Flies), 19 22. 1 

Undetennincd, 4 4.c 

Undetermined larva, (Flies), 5 5.8 

Undetermined pupae, (Flies), ;j :{.5 

Tipulida', larva', (Crane Flics) 1 1.1 

Syrphida^, (SyrpUus Flies) 3 '.iSt 

Larvae, undet., 1 1.1 

Pupte, undet., 2 2.3 

Hyiuenoptera, (Ants, etc.), 8 3.5 

Undetermined pupa, 1 l . l 

Undetermined ants, 2 2,3 

Vertebrata, (Vertebrate Animals), 8 9.3 

Undetermined vertebrates, (Flesh), 2 2.3 

Pisces undetermined, (Fishes) 4 4.6 

Mammalia undetermined, (Mammals), 1 1.1 

Fortunately we were able to obtain enough specimens of the 
Painted Turtle to make a fairly exhaustive study of its actual food 
in the way of stomach contents. We are consequently prepared to 
point out some interesting facts in this regard. As shown above, 
eighty-six specimens of the Painted Turtle were found to contain 
food, of which sixty-three contained vegetable matter. Thirty of 
these had eaten Alga? or the so-called frog spawn, green slime or 
"green maiden hair," sometimes found in quiet water. Eleven con- 
tained undeterminable fragments of higher plant life, and thirty-six 
contained leaves of the flowering i)lants. This shows that the Paint- 
ed Turtle is decidedly herbivorous, as i-t feeds to a great extent upon 
vegetation. Four had eaten seeds of plants, and three contained 
blades of grass. One had eaten the floating plant, Lemna, or duck 
weed, and one had eaten the seed of the dock plant, another smart 
weed, another the seeds and pods of the pepper grass and another the 
berries of the Common Elder (Sambucus canadensis). While the 
berries of this plant are considcrc<l decidedly useful by mankind, 
they will not be appreciably reduced by depredations of turtles, even 
though two species were found to have eaten them. 

Sixty-nine Painted Turtles were found to contain animal matter 
of some kind of the low as well as the higher forms of animal life, 
including insects. In comparison with the sixty-three containing 
plant food we find a balance which sliows that the Painted Turtle is 
omniverous, and almost equally herbivorous and carnivorous. 


Tweuty-thrGe specimeus weie found to contain mollusks, of which 
one had eaten a sluj;- and seventeen had devoured di y land slails or 
the snail covered with a shell, and living on the land. This shows the 
Painted Turtle is a destroyer of this creature which feeds so exten- 
sively on the foliage of plants in damp places. Three had eaten 
pond snails and five had devoured bivalves or mussels. Of course, 
the last named were taken from the water as they are only aquatic 
in their living. 

Sixty-one of the eighty-six had eaten insects, of which twenty-two 
contained undeterminable fragments of immature insects, and three 
contained undetermined insect larvie. Eleven had fed on dragon flies 
in the immature stage. As the njanphs of the dragon flies live en- 
tirely in the water it is plainly seen that the Painted Turtle seeks 
much of the food in the mud at the bottom of streams and ponds. Of 
course, some of them could be captured at the time they come from 
the water and cling to objects in the air and transform to the winged 

It is interesting to entomologists to know that one specimen of 
Painted Turtle was found to contain a mole cricket in good condition. 
This insect is rare in most portions of the State, but its proclivity 
to live in damp regions accounts for the greater chance of its being 
found and eaten b}- a semi-aquatic animal like the Painted Turtle. 

Among the Hemiptera it was found that one Painted Turtle had 
eaten a small giant water bug (Zaitha), two devoured water striders 
or ''skaters" and three had fed upon leaf hoppers. Two Painted 
Turtles should be given credit for eating the larvje of moths, com- 
monly called cateri)illars, while nineteen were found to have fed on 
flies, mosUy in the immature stages as larvje or pup;p. Most of these 
were flies of the species that live in or near the mud and water. 

Thirty-seven Painted Turtles were found to contain beetles, of 
which twenty-four contained fragments of species which could not 
be determint^d. Three had eaten ground beetles, and one an aquatic 
Diving Beetle, while ten had shown their decidedly beneficial results 
by feeding on the very objectionable Rose Bug. While it is possible 
these turtles had taken the insects from the surface of the water 
where they were floating, nevertheless credit must be given them as 
certainly being an enemy of one of the most obnoxious pests of this 
State, and for which there is no satisfactory remedy. Eight Painted 
Turtles had eaten vertebrates, four of which contained fishes and 
one a mammal. Others contained only bones or fragments of flesh 
and could not be recorded with certainty. 

In the review of the food of the. Painted Turtle it becomes evi- 
dent that it eats vegetation to a great extent, but is not necessarily 
objectionable by so doing, as the plants are mostly of aciuatic 
species. It is beneficial in feeding upon such insects as snails, leaf 


liopjM'is, iiiolli laiV;»', rose lmj;s ami otluM* species. W'liile it 
oeeasi^iuallv I'eeds upon lislu s 'his mav iiol be a serious objection as 
Ihoy are n(»t ^ciierallv such (jcsiiable species as ^anie fishes. 

Other autliors havi- uiadc sinteuieuls conceiniu^- (heir food as fol- 

'•Fish" (Diluiars); "iuseits"' (llulbrooU, DeKay, and iJihuarsj; 
"Tadpoles" (MolbrooU, Dituuirsj; "Frof^s" (llolbrooU); "Ducklings 
etc." (Shaw); "Kartlnvorins" (llolbrook); "Aquatic reptiles" (De- 
l\ay); "A«iua(ic plants" iDitiuars, Fu|^. Smith); "Water PlanlaiB 
leaves" (DeKay). 

h w ill i>e seen fi'om the above that this species is reported to feed 
to a considerable extent ujton Ncrlebrate material, whereas we have 
found less (han 10 per cent, of those <lissected containinjif Verte- 
brates. Further, it has been the common belief that turtles feed on 
lish. while out of (he 86 stomachs examined less than 5 per cent, were 
found (o have eaten tish. By far the j^reatest amount of food for 
the Painted Turtles was furnished by the group of animal organisms 
known as Insects, although a large per cent, of their food was plant 
material. In fact, T:> per cent, of those containing food had eaten 
more or less of vegetable matter, while over 80 per cent, had eaten 
animal material. 

Among the insec(s some are recognized as very destructive species, 
and a careful study of our food charts shows that these turtles must 
be regarded as beneficial rather than obnoxious. 

Special atti'ution sliould be called to some of the stomach con- 
tents of some individuals of this sjiecies. For example, specimen 
Xo. (J.'JJda- contained eleven damsel (ly nymphs of one species, one of 
another species, one (rue dragon tly, one damsel fly, one beetle larva, 
one flat spiral shell (I'lanorbisj and one crustacean. In the intes- 
tines were found many fragments pointing to a prepouderence of 
damsel flies as food. Specimen !)r).S2a' contained considerable food, 
and of this 99 per cent, was vegetable matter, mostly algiB and 
fragments of water lily or arrow head leaves. Specimen r)9r)la'- 
contained considerable food, of which 7") per cent, was the remains 
of aquatic snails or molhisks and 25 per cent, was plant leaves. In 
the seventy-nine specimens examined the greater portion of the food 
contents of twenty-eight individuals was of animal origin, while 
forty-four contained vegetable maKer as Iheii- majoi- portion. an<l 
seven contained alxnit ('(jual amounts of animal and vegetable tissue. 
It is remarkable (o know that some specimens contained specjnu'ns of 
Macrodactylus subspinosus, the Hose Chafer, which is also known as 
the injurious Rose Hug. There can be no doubt of (he economic 
features of these insectivorous creatures. 


Shaw goes so far as to say, "This species is a voracious eater of 
ducklings, etc." It is our opinion that such a statement is mislead- 
ing. Various writers report that the Painted Turtle is eaten by 
man but is not much esteemed. 

Species 13. 

Chrysemys marginata 

(Agassiz). The Margined 

The specific name of this turtle refers to the red marks upon the 
margin of the plates. It could properly be called ''The Western 
Painted Turtle," in accordance with the expression used by Dr. Hay, 
but no better name could be given in accordance with its scientific 
name and coloration than ''The Margined Turtle," from its specific 
name. It is also sometimes called Agassis's Ttirtle. Hay called it 

Pig. 9. Margined Turtle. Outline of carapace and plastron and left side view 
of complete specimen. (One-third nat. size.) Drawn by W. R. Walton, in office 
of H. A. Surface, State Zoologist. 

the Western Painted Turtle, because it is really the Western form 
of the Painted Turtle. Prof. Agassiz pointed out the fact that this 
form has the plates in the longitudinal rows over the back alternat- 
ing, the rows across the shell being broken, while in the Eastern 
form the plates are arranged in regular straight rows in each direc- 
tion, both lengthwise and across the shell. 

Of the Marginal Turtle, the carapace is ovate, depressed, without 
keel, smooth, margin flaring slightly, never serrated posteriorly, and 
but slightly notched. Plastron immovable. Jaws as in C. picta 
Plates of carapace alternating, the lateral series with strong, con- 
centric striae. Length of shell six inches. Color as mpicta^ except 
that a dark spot usually marks the central area of plastron of mar- 

Tho Marjjjinc'd Tmllc oci nrs Irtim WCsttMii New York to Iowa and 
perhaps soutliwaid to Louisiana. \\ . IF. Smith says, (han in Oliio 
this sptM'i«'s is abundant. It is ccitain Dial in the <'asl«'rn part of 
IV'nnsvlvania the I'aintcd Turtle is found while in liic wcsit in jiait 
the Mar^iinod Tuith' much jtrcdominalcs. 

Uur colU'cUons in I'cnnsvlvania have been from Kiie county, by 
I'l'of. E. M. Mixer. Waterford. and Tio^a county, Mr. I). ('. Manicy, 

IJay says of the Margined Turtle, "II is at once our most beautiful 
and most common tortoise (Indiana). Is strictly aquatic and exces- 
sively timid. It prefers pond.'?, i)ools, ami (he sluggish parts of our 
streams. May be often seen lying on some fallen tree trunk or on 
some projecting stone basking in the sun. The sense of sight and 
hearing app<'ar to be acute, for it easily takes alarm and tumbles 
into the wa(er and disappears. It is then often to be found buried 
in the mud, close to where it entered llie water. Is entirely harm- 
less, and can hardly be provoked to bite." 

A comparison of the two species reveals some points of interest. 
Among these are such as follows: 

C. prcta is regarded as a species in the process of formation from 
C. marginata. It seems to have "freed itself" pretty well, as Hay 
says, yet not completely. Intergarding forms are rather common. 
In other words, the imitation jwriod has not come to a close. It is 
impossible to distinguish with any degree of certainty the young of 
the two species. Agassiz's figures of their shells and plates do not 
show the true condition of affairs, although applicable to the ma- 
jority of cases after they have made some growth. 

A series of specimens has been arranged, and photographed, and 
is here published as our Plate \'III, showing gradations from the 
marginata type to the picta type. These, from their geographical 
range, and from their adult contemiioraries in the same pond in 
certain cases, are undoubtably C. picta. Tiie youngest one shown 
in this series is certainly like marginata in every respect. 

In general, the two species may l>e distinguisht^l when adnli by the 
following characters: 

1. Geographical range. This is not infallible, as both sjx'cics may 
occur in Western Pennsylvania and in Ohio, although the Allegheny 
Mountains must be regarded as dividing their general respective 

2. Arrangement of plates on carapac*-. In wargi7iafii the side 
(costal) and middle (vertebral) plates ai<' arranged alternately as is 
common in turtles: in picta these are arranged opjvosite each other 
BO that (hey form transverse rows across the back. 


3. The 3'ellow (red in life) border to the anterior margins of the 
costal and vertebral scutes or plates is wider in picta than in mar- 
ginata. (Authority of Dr. Hay.) Of course in marginata^ these 
borders do not form straight transverse stripes as in typical jpiGta. 

4. The plates of the carapace in marginata show concentric striae 
or ridges (in our specimens) while in picta the scutes are smooth, 
except in occasional specimens. 

Variations in scale arrangement. Our specimen No. S785g^ has 
six vertebral plates in a row and five costals in regular arrangement. 
No. 8785g^ has an extra trinangular plate between the fourth and 
fifth vertebrals, on the left side, not in the middle. 

No. STSSg* has the third costal of the left side divided trans- 
versely into two quadrilateral plates. The fourth costal in the left 
side is triangular instead of quadrilateral. 

In No. 1073 there is a fifth costal on each side, triangular in shape. 
The last vertebral plate is correspondingly modified to an octagonal 

The greater number of adults have rather sharp serrations or 
points on the anterior margins of the carapace. There are also 
serrations usually on the anterior and posterior borders of the plas- 

The vertebral line of red (yellow in formalin) is present in every 
ease. It may be dim or present only on the posterior part of the 
carapace, but part of it at least is always present. 

The Margined Turtle is found in places or situations similar to 
those frequented by the Painted Turtles, and the food and economic 
features are similar. It has been reported that this turtle is found 
out of its winter quarters as late as December 22nd and in the spring 
has been moving as early as the 31st of March. 

It is common in the swamps and ponds of the north-eastern por- 
tion of Mississippi Valley where we have seen them in great numbers" 
on logs and stones disporting themselves with just such habits as 
are seen in the Painted Turtles in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. 

Unfortunately we have had examined in our laboratory only two 
stomachs of the Margined Turtle collected in Pennsylvania, but we 
have little doubt that the food of these turtles is practically the same 
as that of the closely related Painted Turtle. Dr. Hay reports that 
the food is probably insects, tadpoles and feeble and small animals. 

Species 14. Clemmys muhlenbergi (Schweigger). Muhlenberg's 


This is know as Muhlenberg's Turtle from the fact that Schweigger 
chose to name this reptile in honor of one of the early writers on 
such subjects. It has also been called Muhlenberg's Tortoise, and 
Terrapin and the Mud Turtle. While it lives in the mud, as do 


most turtles, itiid is coiisi (luciidv in ;i <,^<MM'ral sciu'c a "iiiiul'' turtle, 
if we wish to avoid confiisioii it siioiild not be called "The Mud 

In this species the carapace is ovate, coiisideraldN' arched, smooth 
or but slightly ki'eled, margin flariii;^, not notched in rear. Upper 
jaw deei)ly notched, and arched downwai'd. Head not notably 
narrower below than above. Plates of carapace showin<^ fine, con- 
centric <:;rooves. Kach of the lar^c plates with dull yellowish or 

Fig. 10. Mulilenberg's Turtle, showing complete dorsal view and outline of 
plastron. (Slightly reduced.) Drawn by W. R. Walton, in office of H. A. Sur- 
face, State Zoologist of Pa. 

reddish markings in the center, (sometimes obsolete). Plastron 
black with yellowish blotches. The head is black with a large patch 
of brilliant orange-yellow on each temple. Skin dusky, j>aler in the 
more protected parts. 

•*Is deeidedly terreslial in its habits; picfeiring, however, moist 
places, and the neighborhood of running streams. Theii- movements 
are very sluggish, and in captivity they attempt to burrow." — 
DeKay, 18. 


"In fresh water, as early as April 15. Is rather abundant and colo- 
nial near Trenton. Is aquatic in habits and similar to C. guttata,'''' — 
Fowler, 242. 

This turtle is found in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and 
Southern New York. It is thus decidedly limited in its distribution, 
and even in this region it is found only in select or limited locations. 
In our collection we have two specimens, both coming from Dela- 
ware county, one having been contributed by Mr. S. M. Lehman, of 
Essington, and the other by Mr. S. Omensetter, of Media. 

Our study of the stomach contents revealed that only one con- 
tained food, and this consisted of undetermined berries, 20 per 
cent., and undetermined insects fragments 80 per cent. This shows 
that it feeds out of water and is accustomed to find fallen berries 
and other material on the ground beneath bushes. Ditmars says 
this species feeds readily out of the water, eating tender green 
leaves, insects and worms. He reports that in captivity it will take 
chopped meat, earthworms, meal worms, lettuce and berries. We 
invite further observations and collections of this particular species, 
concerning which so verj- little has been published. 

Species 15. Clemmys insculptus (Le Conte). The Wood Turtle. 

The Wood Turtle has been variously designated as Sculptured 
Tortoise, Fresh Water Terrapin, Wood Terrapin, Red Bellied and 
Rough Back Turtle, Rough Back and Water Terrapin and Wood 
Tortoise. It takes its common name from the fact that it is abun- 
dant in woods, living sometimes in such places all the year around 
and hibernating only beneath leaf mold and fallen leaves. The 
specific term ^'insculptus" means engraved, and refers to the mark- 
ings, or lines and grooves, on the back. From these marks it has 
also been given the name of Sculptured Tortoise, and Rough Back 

This species has the carapace ovate, keeled, margin flaring, serrate 
or toothed in rear. Upper jaw deeply notched and arched down- 
wards. Head decidedly narrower below than above. Plates or cara- 
pace with concentric and radiating grooves and radiating black lines; 
reddish brown; plastron with a black blotch on each plate, posterior 
margin deeply notched. Length 8 inches. The entire carapace has 
a rough chiseled aspect, hence the specific name — "insculptus". The 
fleshy parts, with the exception of the top of the head and limbs, are 
bright brick-red. 

The number of marginal plates varies somewhat. Our specimen 
No. 1586a has twenty-four marginal plates, and No. 9467f^ has 


Fig. 11. Wood Turtle, showing outlines of carapace, plastron and left side 
view of shell, with side view of head. (One-half nat. size.) Drawn by W. R. 
Walton, from life, in Laboratory of State Zoologist, Harrisburg Pa. 


Our No. G593c has an extra plate between the third and fourth ver- 
tebral scutes on the left side. This plate occupies part of the space 
of the fourth vertebral and has shoved forward the left half of both 
the second and third vetebral scutes. 

In the adults the male has a marked concavity in the plastron. 
In the female the plastron is convex or practically flat in half grown 

The Wood Turtle is found in the northeastern United States and 
Ontario, extending from Maine to Pennsylvania and westward to 
Ohio. Even then it is very limited in its distribution. We have re- 
ceived speciments from Ulster county, N. Y., from Mr. A. A. North- 
rup, Browns Station; Warren county, N. J., from Paul S. Tooker, 
Phillipsburg, while from Pennsylvania, our specimens have been 
mostly from the central and northwestern portions of the State as 
the following acknowledgments indicate: 

Bedford county, Zoological Division, Bedford. 
Bedford county, Zoological Division, Bedford. 
Bradford county, Smith, A. C, Burlington. 
Bradford county, Biles, W. L., Wyalusing. 
Cambria county, Seaman, A. F., Wilmore. 
Cambria county, Brubaker, F. M., Johnstown. 
Center county, Kuhn, C. F., State College. 
Clearfield county, Hurd, W. E., La Jose. 
Clinton county, Allabach, Lulu F., Lock Haven. 
Cumberland county, Zoological Division, Camp Hill. 
Dauphin county, Zoological Division, Harrisburg. 
Dauphin county, Meredith, H. L., Harrisburg. 
Dauphin county, Fegley, Carl, Harrisburg. 
Dauphin county, Anderson, Stephen, Harrisburg. 
Dauphin county, Keboch, F. D., Williamstown. 
Dauphin county. Sober. Miss M. G., Dauphin. 
Franklin county, Lehman, A. B., Fayetteville. 
Huntingdon gounty, Swoope, J. P., Huntingdon. 
Huntingdon county, Blatt, W. J., Huntingdon. 
Indiana county, Wehrle, R. W., Indiana. 
Indiana county, Hasinger, L. C, Indiana. 
Luzerne county, Angus, Wm., Stoddartsville. 
Luzerne county. Good, Jacob. Wapwallopen. 
Luzerne county, Campbell, E. W., Wilkes-Barre. 
Lycoming county, Myers, C. E., Hughesville. 
Monroe county, Allegar, I. L., Shawnee. 
Northampton county, Bedford, G. H., Nazareth. 
Perry county, Showalter, C. E., Landisburg. 
Potter county, Lehman, J. P., Coudersiwrt. 
Tioga county, Barns, 0. J., Mansfield. 


\'(Mian«;o county, Tiavcllc licaii, l^mlciilon. 
W'aynr coniity, Stevens. F. Win., Sterling;. 
Wayne county, Bullock, W. 11.. llonesdale. 
Wyoming; county. Baker, CJerdon, Noxen. 

"Occurs usually in dry tields. though also in meadows and alonj; 
borders of streams in spring. 1j«'ss a(iuatic than any of the other 
members of the family. In nnnierons cases the author found leeches 
and Helicidae adherinj; lo (heir lej^s or tianks, which shows a means 
of distribution for the iatlei- forms. They repair in autumn to 
streams and ponds and prepare to hibernate by buryinjjf themselves 
in mud. IMmid and retiriu}::, but when excessively irritated, will 
snap. They emit a i>ipin^ note." — W. H. Smith, p. OaO. 

"An upland species and scarce. Is in demand as food. Some- 
times lives in dry woods thouuh mostly are fdund alonj; banks of 
streams." — Fowler, p. 243. 

"This, thonj^h jiiven as living mostly in ponds, appears to be the 
most teiri'stial of our turtles, next lo the Common Box Turtle, and is 
quite a good walker, raising itself well from the gronnd. It appears 
constantly on guard, ready to defend itself." — Eug. Smith, 30. 

The Wood Turtle is liable to be found in any habitat or haunt 
throughout its range where the conditions are suitable, or where 
there are damp leaves in rather secluded woods. In fact it is seen 
more out of the water than within this element and this no doubt 
accounts for the large number of specimens which we have received 
from contributors. Where it is found on dry land it is easily col 
lected, whereas those species which live in water easily escape and 
are not so often sent in by voluntary contributors. 

We have seen this turtle hibernating in comparatively dry woods 
in Centre county, and recollect distinctly that one of the situations 
was on a knoll or sloping hillock where there was considerable 
decaying vegetation and many fallen leaves, with a temporary pool 
only a few yards away. It makes a nest by digging a hole and turn- 
ing around, adjusting the burrow to the size and shape of its body. 
There it remains with only two or three inches of earth and leaves 
over it the entire winter. Under the decaying veg(>tation and with 
the warm earth helping to contribute heat, it remains tlu-re during 
the winter. It is well known that in such places the eaith floes not 
generally fi-eeze deejily, while the snow melts i-eadily. 

From our study of this siwcies we find that 7(5 per c«'nt. of those 
containing food had eaten vegetabh' matter, nearly half of which 
could not be determined because so badly broken, while 80 per cent. 
had eaten animal matter. This means of course that some had 
eaten both vegetable and animal tissue as food. 

Among those that had eaten animal tissue the number tliat had 
eaten mollusks was rather large, considering that more than one- 


fourth (ji All examined was found to contain tliem, while the number 
that had eaten insects was still larger, being about 53 per cent, of 
all those that contained food. 

Two had eaten birds but they were not in condition to be de- 
termined. It is of course possible that the birds were found dead 
as it is known that turtles are valuable and important scavengers. 
It is scarcely to be thought that such slow creatures as turtles could 
capture and kill the birds. 

Special records of our examinations of specimens are as follows: 

Our No. 6593c contained thirteen sawfly larvte, two species of moth 
larvae, one millipede, fragments of several beetles, two slugs, and 
possibly hundreds of rudimentary "plates" of slugs. 

Of twenty-one specimens examined and showing comparison in the 
records, sixteen had the major part of stomach contents vegetable, 
five animal. 

Of course those that live in water are reported to readily take 
water fowls, especially young ducks and goslings. However this 
charge is not yet proven against the Wood Turtle, the Snapper being 
the chief culprit in this regard. 

Mr. Vincent, of White Marsh, Md., reported to us in the early part 
of December, 1906, that turtles ate off the flower buds of his water- 
lilies in ponds. The species doing this work he called the "Shovel 
or Slider Turtle," which would no doubt be the Wood Turtle. 

Following is the food chart from our laboratory dissections of 
Clemmys insculptus (No. with food 26). 

No. Per Cent. 

Vegetation, 20 76.9 

Cryptogams, (Flowerless Plants), 1 

Fungi — 

Basidiomycetes, ; . . . 1 3.8 

Toadstools, 1 3.8 

Bryophyta, (Mosses), 1 3.8 

Jungermannia, 1 3.8 

Phanerogams, (Flowering Plants). 

Undetermined flowering plants, J.3 49.9 

Seeds, 9 34 . 8 

Asinina triloba, (Papaw fruit), 1 3.8 

Ilex verticillata seeds, (Holly), 2 7.6 

Vitis labrusca, (Fox Grape), ' 1 3.8 

Clover, 1 3.8 

Fragaria sp., (Strawberry, fruit and seeds),. .. . 1 3.8 

Rubus sp., (Blackberry) seeds, 1 3.8 

Pyrus sp., (Apple) fruit, , 1 3.8 

Hedera hirsuta, seeds, 1 3.8 

Sambuous canadensis fruit, (Elder), 1 3.8 


\(>. Per C.-iil. 

Mitchclla itimmis, (I'mlridj^c licrrv) 1 ii.S 

BolaiMim sj)., (Ni^^lilsliadc Itcrrirs) 1 3.8 

Cheloi^p {glabra seeds, (Tiiillc Head) 1 3.8 

rianta^ro niajoi-, iriaiitaiiu - 7. (J 

Betula sp., (liiirli) I 3..S 

Gramineie, grass, i> 34.8 

Animal matter -I 80.7 

Annulata, Earthworms, I 3.8 

MoUusca 7 20.8 

Snails 23 

Slugs, I 3.8 

Crustacea, 3 11.0 

Oniseidae, (Sow Bugs) 1 3.8 

Cambarus sp., (Craytish) 1 3.8 

Gammarus sp., (Fresh Water Shrimp) 1 3.8 

Myriapoda, (Millipedes, ete.) 4 15.4 

Insects, 14 53 . 7 

Undetermined fragments 4 15.4 

Hemiptera, Pentatomida^. (Stink Bugs), 1 3.8 

lA'pidoptera, CMollis and lint tcrflies) 2 7.0 

Noctuidse, (Cutworms), 1 3.8 

Heteroeerous Maerolepidoptera, (Moth), ... 1 3.8 
Coleoptera, (Beetles). 

Undetermined beetles, 5 19 . 2 

Carabida^, (Ground Beetles) 1 3.8 

Harpalus caliginosus, 1 3.8 

('hrysomelida*, ( F^af Beetles) 2 7.0 

Undetermined Leaf Beetles 1 3.8 

Chrysomela suturalis, 1 3.8 

Scarabaeidae, 2 7.0 

Tenebrionida? 1 3.8 

Diptera, (Flies), 1 3.8 

Hymenoptera, (Ants, etc.) 2 7.0 

Tenthredinida?, (Sawflies) 1 3.8 

Ant 1 3.8 

Vertebrata, 2 7.0 

Undetermined birds 2 7.0 

Concerning the food of this sp('<i«'S, other aulhoi-s state as fol- 

W. H. Smith says it "feeds on low field-blackberries and other 
vegetables.'' Ditmais says it "feeds on tender vegetation, berries 
and insects." 


There appears to be but little known concerning the life history 
and nesting habits, of the Wood Turtle, as the only statement in 
literature which we have found is by W. H. Smith who says '^In the 
early spring the males and females seem to be together in damp 
localities. Later I was able to find only the females and they were 
uniformly filled with eggs," 

Further careful observations are gfeatly needed in this regard. 

Species 16. Clemmys guttatus (Schneider). Speckled Tortoise. 

The Speckled Tortoise has been cited in literature by the various 
names of Speckled Turtle, Speckled Terrapin, Spotted Tortoise, 
Spotted Turtle, Pond Turtle, Spotted Terrapin, Speckled Terrapin, 
Yellow-spotted Terrapin and Speckled Back. 

Fig. 12. Speckled Turtle, showing outline of carapace and plastron and left 
side view of complete specimen. (One-half nat. size.) Drawn by W. R. Walton, 
from life, in office of State Zoologist, Harrisburg, Pa. 

The specific name ''guttatus" means spotted and refers to the 
orange-yellow specks or spots to be seen on the back. 

The Speckled Turtle has carapace ovate, depressed, smooth, not 
keeled, margin flaring, not serrate in the rear. Upper jaw deeply 
notched, the edges nearly straight. Carapace black with round 
orange spots, these spots rarely obsolete; plastron yellow, blotched 
with black or black with faded patches of j-ellow. Above, the head 
is black with a few yellow spots in front, and a larger spot of orange 
over the region of the ear. Lower surface of the limbs and the 
fleshy parts, pale salmon. Length four and one-half inches. 


Our No. l)()")!>a^ has two extra trian;;ular plates one on cadi side, 
betwoen tlio tii-st vcrtcbrals aiul lirst coslals. 

The spots of yellow on this spocies are subject to quite a varied 
arranjjoinent. In many cases the arran^'enient is irrej^'uhir. Tliere 
seems to he a tendency for each marj;inal phite to have one yellow 
spot, each vertebral plate one and each costal plate two, one outside 
and in fmnt of the lary;er one. With this ^^oes one or two pairs of 
round yellow spots on the head between the eyes, and a pair of 
elongated yellow spots further back. One of our specinaens has a 
single yellow spot between the eyes. 

This species is found in the Eastern United States, westward to 
Indiana; it is also common in southwestern Ontario and is found as 
far south as North ('aroliua. In our own ^tate it appears to be 
decidedly eastern and southern in distribution, as most specimens 
which we have received are from the Eastern and Southeastern 
portions of Pennsylvania. 

"Frequents sluggish streams, ponds and ditches with muddy bot- 
tom, but 1 have not seen them where the water itself was muddy. 
Observed with picta in N. Y., in about equal numbers. Strictly 
aquatic. Frequently observed on edges of ponds and on logs, from 
which they plunge quickly when approached. Bury in mud in the 
fall to winter over." — Smith, p. Gfil. 

"Less exclusively aquatic than most si>ecies of turtles. It seems 
to delight in being in the neighborhood of swamps and sluggish 
streams, and it pii)bably spends the greater part of its time in the 
water. Nevertheless it often leaves the water. It is very harmless 
and deserves protection. When at freedom they collect in numbers 
on objects above the water and enjoy the sunshine; but if any fancied 
enemy is seen approaching they slide off rapidly into the water and 
soon bury themselves in the mud.'' — Hay, 577. 

"S. E. Pennsylvania and S. N. J., even in pine barrens, but pro- 
bably not in the higher mountains." — Stone, p. 170. 

Our collections of this species are as follows: 

Berks county, Becker, Wm. D., Fleetwood. 
Berks county, Boyertown High School, Boyertown. 
Berks county, Gruber, C. L., Kutztown. 
Berks county, Grim, Wm. H., Hamburg. 
Bucks county, Atkinson, Mrs. J. Willis, Buckingham. 
Chester county, Snyder, Dr. W. P., Spring City. 
Dauphin county, Zoological Division, Harrisbiirg. 
Dauphin county, Zoological Division, Rockville. 
Dauphin county. Zoological Division, Dauphin. 
Dauphin county, Schick, Harris, Harrisburg. 
Danpbin oonntj, Pritchard, Geo. B., Hanisborg. 


Dauphin county, Keboch, F. D., Williamstown. 
Delaware county, Dickson, Wallace C, Wayne, 
Luzerne county, Campbell, E. W., Pittston. 
Luzerne county, James, Wayne T., Wilkes-Barre. 
Luzerne county, Campbell, E. W., Wilkes-Barre. 
Lycoming county, Koch, Aug., Williamsport. 
Northampton county, Bedford, G. H., Nazareth. 
York county, Donleay, LeRoy, Etters. 

ShaAv says of this species that ^'It inhabits rivers and lakes in 
North America. The young are scarcely larger than pigeons' eggs 
and are very black, beautifully spotted with gold color." 

Its eggs are few in number according to Agassiz, never being 
more than three or four. These are an inch and a quarter in length 
and three-fourths of an inch in width. 

About the 20th of June it is said the female digs a vertical hole 
by the use of her hind legs and after laying the eggs pushes the dirt 
back over the opening so as to conceal it entirely. It is in the more 
quite pools of remote woods that the young or smaller specimens 
of this species are found and this indicates the vicinity in which the 
eggs are laid and the young live. 

The following chart shows the results of study of the stomach 
contents of tweuty-seven specimens of the Speckled Turtle: 


Undetermined leaves, 

Undetermined seeds, 

Graminese — Grass, 

Animal matter, 

Annulata, (Worms), 





Undetermined spp., 

Gammarus sp., (Fresh Water Shr'mps), 

"^ Cambarus sp., (Crayfish), 

Myriapoda, (Millipedes, etc.), 

Arachnida, (Spiders), 

Insecta, (Insects), 

Undetermined fragments, 

Ephemerida, (Mayflies), 

Plecoptera — Perlidae, (Stone Flies), . . . 

No. Per 





















29. G 




















No. Vov Ont. 

Odouata, (Dragon Flies), !) Xi.'.i 

Nymphs, 8 29.6 

Agrionida^ (Damsel Flies), 1 '.1.7 

Hemiptera, (Bugs), :? 11 . 1 

Capsidaj, (Water Bugs), 1 .'i . 7 

Notonectidai, (Back Swimmers) 1 :{.7 

Belostomidie, 1 !i . 7 

Zaitha flumiuea, 1 •LI 

Neuroptera — SialidtB, 2 7.4 

Lepidoptera, li 11.1 

Undetermined Moth la^va^ *. 2 7.4 

Noetuidse, (Cutworms), 1 3.7 

Coleoptera, 20 74.0 

Undetermined Beetle fragments, l.> 48.1 

Carabida3, (Ground Beetles), 2 7.4 

Dytiscida', (Diving Beetles), 2 7.4 

Chrysomelida?, (Leaf Beetles), 3 1 1 . 1 

Undetermined, 2 7.4 

Donacia sp., 1 3.7 


Lachnosterna, (June Bugs), 1 3.7 

Euphoria inda, (Flower Beetles), 1 3.7 

Maerodactylus subspinosus, (Rose Bugs), . 2 7.4 

Rhynchophora, (Snout Beetles), 1 3.7 

Diptera, (Flies). 

Undetermined flies, 10 37 

Tipulida?, (Crane Flies) 2 7.4 

Chirononiida^, (Midges), 1 3.7 

Scatophagida?, 1 3.7 

Hymenoptera, (Ants, etc.). 

Tenthredinidie, 1 3.7 

Ichneumonidte, 1 3.7 

Brachondiie, 1 3.7 

Ants, 1 3.7 

From the above chart it is to be seen that only one-ninth of the 
individual specimens examined had eaten vegetable matter, and in 
fact there was very little plant tissue found in the stomachs, while 
all of them contained animal matter, thus showing that they differ 
conspicuously from the Wood turtles in preferring animal matter to 
vegetable food. Not only is it remakable that all the 8i>ecimeus 
contained animal tissue, but also that all of them had eaten insects. 

WTiile many of these food materials were fragmentary and un- 
determined it was plainly shown that most of them were aquatic 
insects, such as would be found living in water or such as may have 


dropped into the water or could be found in wet regions. Again the 
destructive and obnoxious Rose Bug had found as its enemy more 
than one individual of this species of turtle. Nearly half of the 
turtles of this species had eaten beetles of some kind, and over one- 
third had fed upon flies in some stage. 

Special records of our examinations of specimens are as follows: 
5951b contained a very rich collection of aquatic larvae; many 
Diptera larvae and pupae, probably Chironomid or Tipulid; two or 
more robust Coleoptera or Mayfly, aquatic insect larvae, heads of Col- 
eoptera larvae, one perfect shrimp like Crustacean, one snail. 

No. 5951c^ contained a choice collection of Chironomid and other 
aquatic larvae or nymphs. Parts of Euphoria inda, wing of Braconid 
and many other insect fragments. 

No. 5951c^, c^ and c* likewise contained insects, vegetable matter 
being absent in the above five specimens. 

No. 6391b^ contained about three dozen Notonectid nymphs; May- 
fly nymphs; maggot-like fly larvae; Tipulid (?) larva; three Odonata 
nymphs; Elytra of water beetle; two species of aquatic Crustacea, 
several of each. 

No. 6593 b contained fifty-three sawliy larvae and several other 

No. 9626 b contained a vertebrate, probably a frog. Fragments of 
insects and of crayfish may be originally from frog. Only five out of 
tw^enty-seven contained vegetable matter, and these all contained far 
more animal matter than vegetable matter. The species therefore 
is to be considered carnivorous, or more narrowly insectivorous, 
rarely feeding on vertebrated animals. 

In speaking of the food of this turtle, Ditmars says, in his report, 
page 5, "These feed largely on dead fish and the larvae of aquatic 
insects. In captivity it will eait lettuce leaves, but seems unable to 
swallow when the head is not covered with water." Hay reports its 
food as consisting of "tadpoles, young frogs and other weak 
animals." It is our belief that he had heard a wrong report. He 
further adds that he learned "they devoured crickets, grasshoppers 
and earthworms." This is, of course, accurate. 

DeKay published that the food consists of insects, frogs and 
worms. It is to be doubted if these turtles feed much if at all upon 

Holbrook says its food consists of "such animals as it can seize, as 
tadpoles, young frogs, etc." He also published that "it takes to 
land frequently in search of food, devouring earthworms, crickets, 
grasshoppers, etc." 

From the above chart it is proven for the first time that the 
Speckled Turtle is particularly insectivorous and is benefioial rather 
than obnoxious. In the interest and eoonomy of mankind the 
^pecltle^ Turtle is worthy of presfervatios!, 


It is unfortunate that some of our predecessors have been guessing 
at the food of tliis and some other species of turtles, and the com- 
paratively recent writers have accepted without question, and 
quoted without quotation marks, the statements made by previous 
writers on this subject. 

Species 17. Emydoidea blandingi (Holbr.). Hlanding's Turtle. 

Blanding's Turtle is so named in honor of an early writer on 
herpetology. It is variously known as Hlanding's Tortoise, liland- 
ing's Terrapin, Blanding's Cistuda and the Semi-Box Turtle. The 
last term refers to the fact that it can partially close its shell 
although not wholly. 

In Blanding's Turtle the carapace is elongated and globular, 
margin flaring. Plastron with transversa hinge and cartilaginous 
union between carapace and plastron. Feet fully webbed. Black, 
usually with numerous yellow dots. Plastron yellowish with black 
blotches; head with yellow spots. Young nearly circular, black. 
Chin and throat are bright, immaculate yellow. Rear lobe of plas- 
tron bluntly notched. The head is cylindrical, upi^er mandible is 
sharply notched, the neck is very long. Length eight inches. 

This turtle is found from New York to Wisconsin, being most 
abundant in Indiana. Nash reports its occurrence in Ontario and 
Ditmars says it is to be found in the Allegheny region, the North- 
eastern part of Pennsylvania and New York into Massachussetts, 
Rhode Island and New Hampshire. It occurs chiefly from Penn- 
sylvania westward and on the shores of the Great Lakes in Canada. 
It is not common even in that region.- It is a land animal, living in 
damp fields near water. We have not been so fortunate as to have a 
Pennsylvania specimen of this species. 

Agassiz reports that it lays from seven to nine eggs together each 
year and the eggs are oval, measuring one and three-eights by almost 
an inch in size. Hay, page 579, calls attention to the fact that, 
^'according to Agassiz's figures, there are no yellow nor orange dots 
on the shell of the very young, thus being in contrast with the young 
of the Speckled Turtle. This makes it not difficult to distinguish 
between the two species. Holbrook who originally described the 
species says, ''The type was a female from which we took 60 eggs of 
different stages of development" (page 42). It is to be seen that 
these sixty eggs would not be laid all at one time but would be 
carried and laid as Agassiz has rei>ortcd, a few during each year. 
It is known that turtles carry their eggs while they are developing, 
during a period of severa! years. 

There is but little literature concerning tliis rare turtle. Hay says 
that the food is probably animal matter and Ditmars says it lives 


in or near the water and will take tender shoots, berries and insect 
larvae. "In captivity it will feed voraciously upon earth worms, 
small fishes, tadpoles, and young frogs, giving vigorous chase, and is 
very fond of lettuce." 

Species 18. Terrapene Carolina (L.). Common Box Turtle. 

The Common Box Turtle has been given more common names than 
any other species of this entire Order. It has been called The Tor- 
toise, The Turtle, Land Tortoise, Box Turtle, Common Box Turtle, 
Common Box Tortoise, Chequered Tortoise, Land Turtle, Closed 
Turtle, Chequered Turtle, Locked Turtle, Land Tortoise, Box Tor- 
toise and Carolina Box Turtle, Terrapin, Land Terrapin, etc. The 
simple name of Box Turtle is not applicable for the reason that 
there are several specie^ of Box Turtle and consequently a dis- 
tinguishing term must be added. 

The Common Box Turtle has the carapace ovate, high arched, 
globular, keeled, keel especially prominent in young, margin, flaring, 
notched slightly behind, but not serrate. Plastron transversely 
hinged before and back of the point of connection with carapace, 
enabling the animal to close itself completely. Toes not, or scarcely 
webbed. Colors very variajble, chiefly blackish and yellowish; no 
two alike in pattern; iris carmine red in male, hind feet with four 
toes. Head bright ochre, neck duller ochre. Plates of carapace 
with concentric grooves. Skin within cavities of shell dull chrome 
to brownish, scales on and between limbs mostly dull orange to 
brown, tail darker; eyelids brownish. The keeled plates each bear 
a spot of pale yellow, in the young. All the plates of the carapace 
in the young are granularly rough. 

"S. E. Pennsylvania and S. W. New Jersey, especially common in 
Chester and Greene counties, Pennsylvania. No record of it in 
Pine Barrens. Species seems restricted to a Carolinian fauna." 
—Stone, p. 170. 

"Can accurately close all parts of shell under load of 500 or 600 
pounds. Is found chiefly in marshy situations, but occurs also in 
driest and hottest places. Chiefly sought for its eggs which are 
reckoned a delicacy." — Shaw, p. 37. 

"Is a very gentle and timid animal. I have seen (May 1), a 
specimen, measuring 6 inches, in which the coriaceous laminse 
covering the plates were gradually falling off or shed; leaving the 
new epidermis completely smooth beneath, with colors of renewed 
brilliancy, while the old laminae were dull and strongly corrugated. 
How often does this desquamation occur? Is it the effect of disease, 
or is it an annual or periodical process?" Common everywhere (N. 
Y.) on dry land, although also occasionally met with in swamps and 


Fig 13 Common Box Turtle, showing outline of carapace and plastron, with 
•Ide view of complete specimen. (One-half nat size.) 


moist places. It never takes to the water from choice and indeed 
would be drowned if retained there. It is frequently kept in cellars, 
under the notion that it drives away or destroys rats and other 
domestic vermin. One which I kept in my cellar was found in the 
spring eaten up by the rats. It usually (N. Y.) goes into winter 
quarters in the latter part of September." DeKay, p. 25. 

"A thoroughly terrestrial animal, though not helpless in water. 
The statement that they never go near the water and cannot endure 
rain is untrue. Their shells are too heavy for them to swim readily. 
Entirely harmless, and when disturbed, retire with the shell and 
submit passively to their captor." — Hay, 58. 

This turtle is found from New York to Missouri and southward 
and in fact from Maine to South Carolina and westward. 

Our collection from Pennsylvania is as follows: 

Allegheny county, Reed, Chester, Bridgeville. 

Beaver county, Kirchgessner, C, Darlington. 

Berks county, Boyertown High School, Boyertown. 

Berks county, Brunner, S. A., Krumsville. 

Berks county, Schraum, L. G., Womelsdorf. 

Bucks county, Atkinson, Mrs. J. W., Buckingham. 

Carbon county, Solt, N. E., Weissport. 

Chester county, Baldwin, C. V. M., Parkesburg. ' 

Chester county, Lowell, E. P., Avondale. < 

Chester county, Lawrence, John, Coatesville. 

Clarion county, Brown, T. R., Hawthorne. 

Clinton county, Allabach, Lulu F., Lock Haven. 

Columbia county. Young, A. P., Millville. 

Columbia county, Baldy, S., Catawissa. 

Cumberland county. Zoological Division, Bowmansdale. 

Cumberland county, Zoological Division, New Cumberland. 

Cumberland county. Zoological Division, Enola. 

Dauphin county. Zoological Division, Dauphin. 

Dauphin county, Sober, Miss. M. G., Dauphin. 

Dauphin county, Keboch, F. D., William stown. 

Dauphin county, Clouser, Clarence, Williamstown. . 

Dauphin county, Adams, S. R., Williamstown. 

Dauphin county, Kirchoff, Elizabeth, Williamstown. 

Dauphin count}'^, Warlow, Tessie T., Williamstown. 

Dauphin county. Good, Donald, Williamstown. 

Dauphin county, Adams, Clayton, Williamstown. 

Dauphin county. Drum, William, Williamstown. 

Dauphin county, Wiest, Harry, Williamstown. 

Dauphin county, Carl, L, C, Williamstown. 

Dauphin county. Zoological Division, Rockville. 


Daupbiii county, Zoological Division, Linglestown. 
Dauphin county, Bufliugton, H. E., Lykens. 
Dauphin county, Zooh)gical Division, llarrisburg. 
Dauphin county, Ellcnbcrgi-r, K., llarrisburg. 
Dehiwaro county, Lehman, G. M., Esslngtou. 
Franklin county, MaycMs, G. W., Mont Alto. 
Franklin county, DoLong and Atkinson, Mont Alto. 
Franklin county, Lehman, A. B,, Fayetteville. 
Fulton county, Schenck, J. M., Enid. 
Huntingdon county, Swoope, J. P., Huntingdon. 
Indiana county, Wlierle, K. W., Indiana. 
Juniata county, Stoner, H. L., Mitlllintown. 
Lancaster county, Good, M. K., Mar von. 
Lancaster county, Eby, D, H., Mount Joy. 
Lancaster county. Wanner, A. G., Ephrata. 
Lebanon county, Zoological Division, Lebanon. 
Mifflin county, Naginey, M. M., Milroy. 
Monroe county, Allegar, I. L., N. Water Gap. 
Monroe county, Allegar, I. L., Shawnee. 
Montgomery count}', Brunner, M. M., Trappe. 
Montgomery county, Benner, W. M., Telford. 
Montgomery county, Weber, F. C, Ambler. 
Montgomery county, Nesley, C. H., Pottstown. 
Montgomery county, Zeigler, J. H., Red Hill. 
Montgomery county, Brunner, M. M., Iron Bridge. 
Montgomery county, Weber, J. D., West Point. 
Montgomery county, Gettshalk, O. S., Iron Bridge. 
Montour county. West, Mrs. G. P., Danville. 
Northampton county. Shea, A. L., Eastou. 
Northampton county, Tooker, P. S., Easton. 
Northumberland county, Derr, J. R., Arters. 
Perry county, Brightbill, Mrs. M. C, Marsh Run. 
Perry county, Zoological Division, Newport, 
Perry county, Kane, S. S., Landisburg. 
Snyder county, Bingaman, C. F., Beavertown. 
Union county, Foster, T. C, Winfield. 
Washington county. Couch, Joseph; Canonsburg. 
Washington county, Couch, Merle, Canonsburg. 
York county, Frageser, Wm., York. 

It is one of the most common turtles of the State, frequently seen 
in unexpected places, especially cultivated hillsides. It is often 
found in plowed fields, and in fact one of its chief enemies is the 
spike-tooth harrow and cultivator. It is one of the few turtles 
which appears to care very little for damp situations or an aquatic 


habitat, depending for drink on the water which rests on the leaves 
as dew or may fall as rain. They occur in adundance in Pennsyl- 
vania and throughout one particular ridge which we have had op- 
portunity to inspect closely there must be fully as many as one for 
each ten acres of land. We have had opportunity to observe them in 
their winter retreats, which consist merely of holes in the ground 
under leaf mold and beneath the leaves, as with the Wood Turtle, 
whose wintering habits it imitates. We have also been so fortunate 
as to find their nests with eggs, and we know that they live for many 
years in one circumscribed or limited area, often^;imes going only 
far enough from a certain knoll or hillside to find water, when such 
can be found within convenient distance. 

These turtles become very old, reaching, in common with some 
other species of the Order, the age of at least a century, and doubt- 
less more. 

Variations of the Common Box Turtle and Special Notes. 

Two specimens show only a rudimentary fifth digit, or toe. These 
are our numbers 4110c and 5822c. One showed a zigzag curvature of 
the dorsal keel, due to the alternate twisting of vertebral scutes. 

Several differences: — In a series of forty-two specimens, seventeen 
males and twenty-five females, the following differences were observ- 
ed. All males had a marked concavity in the posterior half of the 
plastron, in fact, the two sexes were separated using this character 
as a basis, and the accuracy of this division was subsequently con- 
firmed by dissections. The carapace of the male has more or less of 
a flare at the posterior corners. The nuchal or neck notch is not 
quite so well marked in the females. The plastron of the females is 
very convex. The relation of both height and width is greater in the 
females. In the males the carapace is usually somewhat flattened. 
In other words, the carapace of the female approaches more nearly 
a spherical shape than does that of the male. 

Striations on the shell appears to be more marked in the young 
than in the old. Of course, the very young show none. Up to a 
certain size the ridges increased in size and number. After that it 
would appear that they become shallower or wear away and finally 

There is great variation in the coloration. The original color 
pattern seems to be, for each vertebral scute to have a dark center 
with yellow keel, and a circle of white spots, for each costal scute a 
black center with a yellow surrounding ring, which becomes broken 
up into yellow spots. These, as the turtle grows, elongate, and 
finally become very irregular in arrangement. This elongation of 
yellow spots is greatest in an outward direction toward the margin, 


and toward the auteiior border, which are the directions of greatest 
radial growth of scales. 

It is stranj^e tliat as common as is the mature Common Box 
Turtle, the very young are rarely seen. These are indeed so rare 
that it is a question as to how and where they live. 

The female of this species makes her nest among loose pebbles 
and earth, on ratlier dry hillside ground, and covers the eggs only a 
very few inches. We remember distinctly having seen a nest acci- 
dentally opened by a hoe which uncovered and cut out three white, 
rather hard eggs, which resembled the eggs of a snake and would 
have been pronounced such by the uninitiated, had it not been for 
the hard shell and the fact that two of the eggs were cut op<'n and 
contained small embryonic animals, which indeed looked as much 
like young mice as anything else. It was seen at once that they 
were Box Turtle eggs, of which only three had been laid in the nest. 
These were left on the hillside to hatch, and later the young were 
to care for themselves. Whither the very young go after they are 
hatched, and how they live, is hard to say, but it is to be presumed 
that they find their way into the midst of the dense vegetation, 
especially beneath bushes in the small valleys or ravines which are 
usually to be found in the vicinity where the eggs are laid. 

Shaw says that the eggs of this species are about as large as a 
pigeon egg, while Hay more accurately says they are oval, one and 
one-half by three-fourths inch in measurement and number from 
four to six in number. He further states they have a rather thin 
shell and are laid the latter part of June or later. Ditmars says 
that the eggs are ovoidal with thin, hard shell, buried in the soft 
ground or secreted in the leaves. 

The following tabulations show the results of our study of the 
stomach contents of forty specimens of the Common Box Turtle: 

No. Per Cent. 

Vegetation 25 62.5 

Cryptogams, (Flowerless Plants) 7 17 


Undetermined fungi 1 2.5 

Basidiomycetes 1 --^ 

Mushrooms, ^ 1^ 

Bryophyta, Moss, 1 2.5 

Phanerogams, (Flowering Plants). 

Undet., •* 1|J 

Roots, 2 5 

Buds 1 2.5 

Leaves ^ ^-••'^ 

Berries, ^ ^-^ 



No. Per Cent. 

Seeds, 1 2.5 

Podophyllum petatum (May Apple), 1 2.5 

Vitis labrusca (Grapes), 1 2.5 

Prunus sp. (Cherry) seeds, 1 2.5 

Rubus sp. (Blackberry), 3 7.5 

Pyrus sp. (Apple), 2 5 

Osmorhiza sp., 1 2.5 

Pyrola rotundifolia, .....' 1 2.5 

Physalis sp. (Ground Cherry), 3 7.5 

Gramineae, grass, 8 20 

Bird's Wheat Moss, 1 2.5 

Animal matter, 32 80 

Annulata (Earthworms), 2 5 

Mollusca (Mollusks), 15 37.5 

Snails, 14 35 

Slugs, 2 5 

Crustacea (Cambarus sp.), 1 2.5 

Myriapoda (Millipedes), 8 20 

Insecta (Insects), 24 60 

Undetermined insects, 7 17.5 

Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, etc.), 7 17.5 

Acrididae, 1 2.5 

Melanoplus femur-rubrum (Red-legged G), 2 5 

Gryllidae (Crickets), 1 2.5 

Gryllus pennsylvanicus (Cricket), 2 5 

Locustidse (Long Horned Grasshoppers), ... 1 2.5 

Hemiptera Pentatomidae (Stink Bugs), 1 2.5 

Lepidoptera (Moths), 9 22.5 

Larvae (Caterpillars), 7 17.5 

PupaB (Chrysalids), 1 2.5 

Notodontidae — Datana ministra, 1 2.5 

Noctuidae, larvae (Cut worms), 3 7.5 

Diptera (Flies), 1 2.5 

Coleoptera (Beetles, etc.), 10 25 

Undetermined beetles, 7 17.5 

Larvae of Beetles, 2 5 

Carabidae (Ground Beetles). 

Undetermined ground beetles, 2 5 

Carabus limbatus, 1 2.5 

Pterostichus lucublandus 1 2.5 

Harpalus caliginosus, 1 2.5 

Hymenoptera (Ants, etc.) 1 2.5 

Vertebrata (Back-boned Animals). 

Mammalia, Muridae (Mice), 1 2.5 


The study of tho above shows that 02 \>or cent, of the siK-ciinona 
rontainiii<; foot! contained vcgetabh' matter of which berries and 
seeds were rather conspicuous. Eighty (SO) per cent, of those con- 
tainin}]^ food contained animal tissue which means that several in- 
dividuals contained both animal and vej,'etable tissue. Amonj^ tho 
or<j:anisms to be found were snails, sluj,'s, milliiR'des or lhousan<l 
le<;<jed worms, and insects. 

Anion j; the insects the Orthoptera (the {grasshoppers and crickets) 
were conspicuously taken as food as were the Ix^pidoptera (moths 
and buttertlies) in the worm or larval stage. The Coleoptera or 
beetles also received a good share of attention. 

It is remarkable that only one out of the forty specimens contain 
ing food had eaten the flesh or tissue of vertebrate animals and this 
had eaten a mouse. However, in this regard it was decidedly 
beneficial in its economic influence. 

Of course, the berries that had been eaten were those which had 
become over ripe and had dropped from the bushes and consequently 
would not be gathered by mankind. The chief thing that can be laid 
against them is that of destroying cantaloupes on their vines, but 
it is our belief that they more than repay this by their conspicuous 
and evident destruction of insect pests. 

Let the Common Land Turtles be preserved and they will help 
take care of the pests destroying the farm produce. 

Special records of our examinations of specimens are as follows: 

No. 5822c- contained entirely animal matter; two snails and frag- 
ments of snail shell. No. u822c^ contained an earth worm, three or 
more snails, one millipede and no vegetable matter. 

Of forty-four stomach contents, twenty-one showed more animal 
than vegetable matter; thirteen more vegetable than animal, and ten 
w^ith both animal and vegetable, but no record showing one in excess 
of the other. 

It is interesting to note the statements of authors concerning 
the food of the Common Box Turtle. For example, Shaw says "It 
feeds on various kinds of small animals, such as mice, and even 
serpents, which it seizes by the middle and draws into the sh«'ll and 
thus crushes them to death; it also eats various vegetable sub- 
stances.'' We are not of the opinion thai this turtle makes a trap 
of its shell. 

LeConte says its food consists of "fruit, insects and edible fungi. 
Many persons are in the habit of keeping them in their cellars when' 
they destroy snails, crickets and other obnoxious insects but it is 
a question whether they ever devour rats and mice and it is also a 
ridiculous idea of their deslmying snakes." We consider his ques- 
tions justifiable. 

Holbrook says they "feed on insects, crickets, etc., and eat readily 
whatever food is offered them in confinement, such as br(>ad. pota- 




toes, apples, etc." lie doubts wlicdicr (licy destroy mice or siiakes 
as was believed by Bosc, Muhlenberj^C aud Shaw. 

DeKay says it is fond of insects, fruits and (-(liblc inuslirooms. 
lu this he is correct. 

Eny:ene Smith reports that one killed and ate a Hrowu Snake in 

Hay reports that this species "loves cucumbers and lettuce, work- 
ing injury to them." 

Fig. 15. Turtle eggs: (8) C. insculptus; (9) C. guttatus; (10) T. caroUna. All 
numbers marked a are end views. Natural size, after Agassiz. 

Food of Young Turtles. 

It is interesting to note the food of very young or small indi- 
viduals of different species because it is evident in many cases these 
must be quite different from that of the adult or full grown creatures. 
We have been fortunate enough to examine several specimens of 
young of five species of our native turtles. 


These were not more than 5 centimeters or two inches in length. 
The stomach contents were carefully examined and tabulated as 

































-a c 

13 oj 

■;? c 








Fresh water worms 


Insect fragments, ... 

Odonata nymphs, 

Damsel nymphs, 

Perlid nymphs, 

Hemlptera (bugs), .. 


Neuroptera larvae, 

Sialld larvae 

Coleoptera (beetles), 

Dytiscid larvse 

Diptera larvse 

Adults (flies), 

Pisces (fishes). 

Catostomid (sucker), 






Tender stems, 

It is to be observed that the young Snapping Turtles have all 
eaten insects to some extent, and fed upon fishes and crayfish as 
well, while the young Painted Turtles and the Common Box Turtles 
had fed upon some vegetable matter. 

The very young Speckled Turtles maintained their good record as 
insectivorous creatures. 

Fig. 16. Egg-tooth, as found on hatching specimens of (upper figure) the 
Common Snapping Turtle and of (lower figure) the Common Box Turtle. 
This "tooth" Is specially provided for cutting the shell and is lost soon 
after hatching. 

Economic Features of Food Items of Turtles. 
In considering the economic features of any creature in regard to 
the kinds of food it takes, it is decidedly necessary to bear in mind 


the ecouoinic features of each it<'in of food taken, an*! wci^li in the 
balance of tlM)u<;ht the eviih'ncc adduced, in order to l)e able to 
arrive at something like a fair decision as to the henelicial or oh 
noxious results of the creature whicli may have been found feeding 
upon various substances. In such a study as this considerable 
attention must be given (o tlie entire subject of Economic Botany 
as well as Economic Zooh)gy, because many jihints or [Kirts of phmts 
were fouud in the stomachs of turlh-s examined, and vaiiu\is kinds 
of animals besides insects were also found eaten by Tn riles. 

A review of the economic relationshii)s of the ftjod items dis- 
cussed in the Food Table of Turtles nuiy aid n-aders in aniving at 
conclusions concerning the total economic results of the feeding 
habits of the creatures mentioned. It must be renu'mbered that it 
is very difficult to discuss a strictly scientific subject upon a purely 
popular basis and be accurate in every detail, for the reason that it 
is really impossible to divest such sciences as botany and zoology of 
the technical terms, which naturalists find necessary to use in 
expressing their meanings, and at the same time give correct ex- 
pressions in popular words to show the meaning of such terms. 

*Plant Material Eaten by Turtles. 

The Vegetable Kingdom contains plants belonging to the two 
great groups, the Cryptogamia or Flowerless Plants, and tlie Phan- 
erogamia or the Flowering Plants. The three groups of Cryptogams 
mentioned in our table are Algjie, Fungi and Bryophyta. 

The Algae: — Algse are Cryptogams with Chlorophyl, or the green 
colored substance commonly seen in plants. Belonging to this 
group are the water slimes, often called ''frog spawn," and looking 
like tresses of green hair floating on the water. Of course, there 
are many other Algixi than these, but these are the Alga? which were 
found eaten by both of the aquatic species of turtles, and while 
they may have some beneficial effects in aerating or purifying water, 
they are much more objectionable by filling ponds and ditches, 
especially reservoirs, and becoming offensive by contaminating the 
water by their decaying. Any creature that removes Alga? from 
reservoirs or other drinking waters is decidedly beneficial in its 
economic results. 

The Fungi: — The Fungi are the flowerless plants which have no 
Chlorophyl or green-coloring substance. These grow mostly out of 
the water, but prefer dami> places for their existence. Many are 
parasitic upon other plants in the forms of mildew, moulds, rusts, 
smuts, etc., and all these are decidedly injurious to cultivated jdants 
as producers of plant diseases. The i>arasilic fungi are. of course, 

•W* her« dlBcuss only the actual food of our native Pennaylvanlan Turtle »a •hown by th«lr 
■tomach oontenta In our laboratory dlssectloni. 


not intentionally eaten by Turtles, although these animals might eat 
the infected leaves of most plants. Other species of fungi are the 
familiar Mushrooms and Toadstools, which were found eaten by the 
Wood Turtle and the Common Box Turtle. The latter is known to 
feed extensively upon this form of vegetation. 

The Mosses: — The Bryophata, or Mosses and Liverworts, con- 
tributed their quota to the food of at least three species of Turtles, 
as shown by the table. These are the Painted Turtle, the Wood 
Turtle and the Common Box Turtle. 

Many of the portions of flowering plants eaten were, of course, 
only fragments that could not be determined. In many cases the 
miscroscope showed vegetable fibre only, but in other cases it was 
possible to determine what part of the plant had been eaten. It is 
to be observed that the Painted Turtle, the Wood Turtle and the 
Common Box Turtle were among the most extensive feeders on 
vegetation. Two specimens of the Common Box Turtle were found 
to contain the roots of some kind of plant, and five Painted Ttirtles 
had fed upon plant stems, while two Snapping Turtles, thirty-six 
Painted Turtles, one Speckled Turtle and five Box Turtles had fed 
upon the leaves of flowering plants. One Box Turtle contained 
undetermined bugs, and three contained unrecognizable berries. 
The single specimen of Muhlenberg's Turtle that was examined 
contained only berries that were beyond recognition. Undetermined 
seeds were found in the stomachs of the Snapping Turtle, the 
Painted Turtle, the Wood Turtle, Speckled Turtle and the Common 
Box Turtle. Grasses were found to have been eaten by Thirties as 
follows: Three Snappers, three Painted Turtles, nine Wood Turtles, 
two Speckled Turtles and eight Common Box Turtles. These con- 
tained the blades or leaves of undetermined species of grasses. 

The little flowering plant known as the Duck Weed, which is one 
of the smallest of flowering plants and often taken as food of ducks 
or other herbivorous aquatic birds and Water Arum leaves, were 
found in the stomach of the Painted Turtle, while the Skunk Cab- 
bage was eaten by the Snapper, and birch leaves by the Wood 
Turtle. The seeds of Dock and Smart-Weed were found in the 
stomach of the Painted Turtle, while the fruit of the Papaw was 
found eaten by the W^ood Turtle, and the fruit of the May Apple 
was devoured by the Common Box Turtle. The seeds and buds of 
Pepper Grass (Lapidium) were found to have been eaten by the^ 
Painted Turtle and the fruit of the blackberry was found in the 
Stomach of a Wood Turtle and also three Common Box Turtles, 
while one Wood Turtle had eaten strawberries. 

Apple seeds were found in the stomach of the Snapping Turtle, 
the Wood Turtle and two Box Turtles. This shows the tendency of 
such species to feed upon whatever fruits may be available for them. 


Cherries were eaten by one Hox Turtle and clover leavrs Wi-rc- found 
devoured by the Wood Tortoise. The seeds of the black alder (Ilex) 
were disiovered in the stoiiiaclis of two Wood Turtles, while another 
speciiiieu of the same species had fed extensively upon fox grapes. 
One Common Box Turtle had regaled itself upon the fragrant plant 
eoninionly known as the Sweet Cicely, while anolher had likewise 
indulged in the spicy foliage of the common Wintergreen. 

Three Common Box Turtles were found to have fed on Ground 
Cherries, or the low herb bearing fruits enclosed in pa|>er-Iike 
capsules and sometimes called '-paiHir cherries" or "Erdcache" 
(Physalis), while one Wood Turtle had actually fed upon the berries 
of the Nightshade, and another contained the seeds of a plant 
known as Turtlehead (Clieione glabra). Two other Wood Turtles 
had fed on the common Plantain, and another had eaten the fruit 
of the Partridge Berry (Milchella), while another had fed on the 
berries of the Common Elder (Sambucus), as had also a Painted 

In reviewing the food of Turtles from the standpoint of the 
plants, it will be seen that the Flowering plants were most at- 
tacked, of which the grasses received a fair share of attention and 
berries were also among the favorites. There appeared, however, 
no concentration upon any one kind of plant for food by any species 
of turtle, such as is shown by some of the carnivorous turtles, 
showing preference for certain kinds of animal organisms. Per- 
haps further examinations, with complete determination of frag- 
ments, might reveal a more definite vegetable choice for some 
species of turtles. 

It should here be recorded that melons, especially cantaloupes, 
are favorite articles of food of at least one species of turtle. The 
Common Box Turtle has come into considerable disrepute with our 
melon growers owing to its tendency to feed extensively upon this 
fruit. We know a careful and thoughtful grower of melons who 
makes a practice of killing the Common Box Turtles in his premises, 
owing to the loss suffered by these animals biting out pieces of the 
melons as they lie on the vines in the fields. 

We also received a report from a botanist in Washington, I). C. 
to the effect that by eating the leaves aquatic turtles had severely 
injured his lilies growing in a pond. This is an unusual record, but 
it is quite possible for such species as the Mud Tnrde, the Wood 
Turtle and the Terrapin to do such damage. 

The few fruits which are eaten by turtles are, of course, in most 
cases those whic-h have dropped on the ground an<l conse(iuently 
are almost or entirely worthless, excepting the melons. It is cpiite 
evident that the destruction of obnoxious insects more than balances 
the slight injury they may inflict to vegetation. 


Animal Material Eaten by Turtles. 

The Annulata or Worms, of which the earthworms are good repre- 
sentatives, have no hard parts, and consequently would not exist 
long in a determinable condition in the stomach of any creature eat- 
ing them. However, such organisms were found contributing to the- 
food elements of one specimen of Wood Turtle, one Speckled Turtle 
and two Common Box Turtles. In the destruction of the earthworm 
the turtle may be regarded as somewhat objectionable, because of 
the beneficial effects of this worm upon the soil which it inhabits. 
However, the earthworm is responsible for the destruction of some 
young plants, especially in gardens in the early spring, and therefore 
may be obnoxious. 

Mollusks, or the slugs, snails, mussels, and other so-called Shell- 
bearing Invertebrates, were eaten extensively by the turtles, show- 
ing that these animals to a great extent feed on all manner of animal 
material in wet or damp places inhabited by molluscan life. In 
feeding upon the mollusks, the turtles are generally destroying crea- 
tures which are almost wholly objectionable in their economic effects. 
The terrestrial mollusks or snails are remarkably destructive to 
vegetation, and many complaints are made by gardeners concerning 
injury by snails or slugs. Any creature feeding extensively upon 
these snails or slugs should be regarded as a friend of gardeners 
and should be preserved. From the fact that nearly half of the 
Common Box Turtles examined were found to contain snails we see 
that this reptile is valuable to mankind in a garden by aiding to 
suppress these pests which are so difficult to meet and destroy by 
other practical means. 

Pond snails, or the spiral univalve mollusks living in water 
(genera Physa and Melantho), were eaten by Snapping Turtles and 
by the Painted Turtles. It is not surprising that these two types of 
aquatic turtles should feed on aquatic animals of any kind obtain- 
able. Bivalves, commonly called ''Mussels," were eaten by five 
Painted Turtles. As these mollusks live only in the water, and 
mostly upon the mud at the bottom of streams and ponds, we have 
an indication of the feeding habits of this species of reptile. 

The Arthropods were discussed in one of our previous Bulletins, 
and it is now enough for us to say that this large branch contains 
four Orders: The Crustaceans, the Myriapods, the Arachnids or 
Spiders, and the Insects. Belonging to the Crustaceans are the 
crayfish and shrimps, which always live in water and have beneficial 
effects, because they feed upon organic material which may be dead 
and decomposed. They thus act as scavengers in helping to purify 
the water in which they live; also by making holes in the ground 
extending down to the water beneath, the crayfish have afforded 


drink to thirsty travelers on the plains or prairits. It is said that 
from the cusioni of thirsty travelers suclviii^ water through hollow 
reeds from th<? crayfish holes the State of Illinois received the name 
of the "Sucker StJite." The crayfish and shrimp are also decidedly 
beneficial in becoming the food of certain carniNorous tishes, such as 
the bass, pike, pickerel, sunfish. trout and others. Therefore, tlie 
creature that would feed upon the crayfish or the fresh water shrimp 
and reduce the number of these in a stream would be reducing the 
further supply for some of our valuable game and food fishes. In 
this slight regard the Turtles feeding extensively upon th'cse in- 
vertebrates have not proven as beneficial in their feeding habits as 
have other species that confine their diet mostly to insects. It is 
important to note that eight ditTerent species of Turtles were found 
eating the crayfish and fresh-water shrimps. Among these were two 
specimens of the Common Soft-shelled Turtle, twelve of the Snapper, 
one Map Turtle, three Painted Turtles, three Wood Turtles, eight 
Speckled Turtles and one Common Box Turtle. 

The Pill-Bug, which is a common insect-like creature belonging to 
the Sow-Bug family, living under boards and in damp places, and 
feeding mostly upon decaying vegetable matter, was eaten by a 
specimen of Wood Turtle. Millipedes or thousand-legged worms, 
which feed mostly upon decaying vegetable matter, were eaten by 
four Wood Turtles, one Speckled Turtle and eight Box Turtles. 
Spiders were devoured by two Speckled Turtles. 

Insects formed the most important and interesting element in the 
food of many si>ecies of Turtles and Lizards. Of each kind of these 
Reptiles of which specimens were examined some representative** 
were found to have eaten insects, excepting the Map Turtle, of 
which only one was examined, and which contained only a crayfish, 
no insects. In many stomachs there were considerable quantities 
of fragments which were so broken as to be unrecognizable. This 
is illustrated in the twenty-two specimens of turtles containing un- 
determined fragments of mature insects. 

The Ephemerids, or May files, are interesting insects, which in the 
young stage are nymphs, living active Wvqs in water, and when 
mature have a short or ephemeral existence as winged creatures. 
They have no objectionable traits or efl'ects, and may be considered 
beneficial from the fact that they form an important element in the 
food of fishes. Two specimens of the Speckled Turtle wvre found to 
have fed upon Mayflies. 

The Odonata or Dragon Flies are the insects that are commonly 
called Snake Doctors, Snake Dragons. Winged Darning Needles, 
Snake Feeders, etc. In the immature stage they live as active 


186 " i 

nymphs in water, and when mature or adult are among the most 
active of flying creatures. Of course, it would be practically impos- 
sible for a Turtle to capture a winged Dragon Fly, but it would not 
be surprising for these insects to die and their remains be picked 
up by such reptiles. This may have been the explanation of the 
occurrence of Dragon Flies in the winged stage in the stomachs of 
two specimens of the Painted Turtle, The nymphs or young of 
dragon flies were found in the stomach of ten Painted Turtles and 
eight Speckled Turtles. Most of these were fragmentary and unde- 
terminable as to species, but it was found that one Painted Turtle 
and one Speckled Turtle had eaten young of the group called Dam- 
sel Flies. 

The Odonata or Dragon Flies are decidedly beneficial insects, 
especially as they are proven to be among the chief enemies of mos- 
quitoes, which in turn carry to mankind certain diseases, such as 
malarial and yellow fever. Thus in the destruction of dragon flies 
mankind loses friends and benefactors. These and the crayfish are 
among the few beneficial creatures eaten by Turtles, and but few 
Dragon Flies in either the adult or young stage, are destroyed by 

The Plecoptera, or Stone Flies, also live in water when young, and 
their economic value is similar to that of the May Flies in being 
taken frequently as the food of insectivorous fishes. Three specimens 
of Speckled Turtles were found to have eaten these insects. 

The Orthoptera, or Straight-winged insects, to which belong the 
grass-hoppers, crickets and katydids, were scarcely noticed as the 
food of Turtles, excepting of the Common Box Turtle, of whicli 
seven individuals were found to contain insects of this order. Com- 
mon Black Crickets were found eaten by one Musk Turtle and two 
Common Box Turtles, and the Mole Cricket was devoured by th'-* 
Painted Turtle. The Common Box Turtle fed upon the Short-horned 
Grasshoppers, two specimens of this reptile having eaten the com- 
mon and destructive Red-Legged Grasshopper; one also was found 
to have fed on a Long-horned Grasshopper. 

It is very interesting to compare the food of the Common Lizard 
(Pa. Zool. Bui. Vol. V. p. 257) and the Common Box Turtle and see 
how closely these two widely different creatures agree in regard to 
food items. This is no doubt due to the similarity of haunts or 
regions occupied by them. It is notable that the aquatic turtles 
were not found to have fed upon the Orthoptera or Jumping Insects. 
As these creatures are decidedly known to be pests, an animal like 
the Common Box Turtle feeding upon them extensively, as it does, is 
of practical benefit to mankind. 


The Hugs, or lliiiiiplci mis insects (\'ol. I\', No. li, .Iuik', I'JUU) 
w<?re likewise avoided hy Turtles to a conspicuous extent, llepre- 
sentatives of the Stink Buj; Family (PentatomidiiO (Vol. IV, p. 71), 
were found in the .stoniach of one Snappiii}; Turtle, one Wood Turtle 
and one Common Box Turtle; while the Water Boatman (Vol. IV, 
p. 51), was found eaten by a Snapper and the Si)vckled Turtle, and 
the Back swimmer (Vol. IV, p. Hli), was also eaten by the last- 
named. Zaitha, an ally of the Giant Water Bug (Vol. IV, p. 56) 
was devoured by a Painted Turtle and by a Speckled Turtle, while 
Watier Striders (Vol. IV, p. 58), or so-called "skaters" were eaten 
by two Painted Turtles. These Water-striders are beneficial in their 
habits, acting as scavengers, as described in our liulletin on the 

Leaf Hoppers (Vol. V, No. 3, July, 1907), wi're found in the stom- 
achs of three Painted Turtles, having doubtless been obtained from 
the surface of the water on which they had fallen. 

The Neuroptera or **Nerve-winged Insects" are represented by 
both land and water species. They are not pests to mankind. Of 
those of which the young or nymphs Jive in water, some were eaten 
by the Painted Turtle and others by the Speckled Turtle. 

The butterflies and moths lly so readily that it would scarcely 
be expected that they would be taken as the food of Turtles, and 
we truly find that they are not important elements in this consider- 
ation. Those that were eaten were mostly in the larval or cater- 
pillar stage. Two Speckled Turtles had eaten winged moths, but 
these may have been taken from the water into which they had 
dropped. Moth larvic in a stage of digestion prohibiting determina- 
tion w"ere eaten by two Musk Turtles, two Painted Turtles and seven 
Common Box Turtles. The chrysalis of a species of moth was also 
found in the stomach of the Common Box Turtle, and a Yellow- 
necked Prominent was found eaten by the same reptile. Cutworms 
were eaten by the Wood Turtle, the Speckled Turtle and three Com- 
mon Box Turtles. This shows a good influence toward destroying 
one of the worst insect pests. The Iarv;e of moths or butterflies 
are practically all destructive in their influence on vegetation, and 
all creatures that feed upon them are consequently beneficial in 
their economic ettects in this regard. 

Flies in their adult or winged stage are not readily captured, and, 
as would be expected. Turtles did not feed readily upon tliem in this 
stage; but it is to be seen that undetermined stages of flies were 
found in the stomachs of four Painted Turtles, one "Wood Turtle, 
ten Speckled Turtles and one Common Box Turtle, .\dults of two 
families of flies were contained as food in the Speckled Turtle. It 
is possible that these may have bet?n taken from the surface of 


water or may have been found dead. Fly larvae were found in the 
stomachs of three Snappers, seven Painted Turtles and two Speckled 
Turtles, while the pupaB or chrysalids of flies were found in the 
stomachs of five Painted Turtles. It will be noted from the table 
that the flies eaten by Turtles are chiefly those species which in the 
larval stage live in mud or in damp places. The similarity of the 
haunt or habitat of the Turtle accounts for these aquatic insects as 
elements of their food. It is remarkably interesting to the student 
of ecology, or the relationship of organisms in Nature, to compare 
our table for the Orthoptera, which live away from water when 
young, and which were almost entirely avoided by the aquatic 
Turtles, but eaten extensively by Lizards and Common Box Turtles, 
with the table for the Diptera or flies, representing species the 
young of which live in water, but none of which were taken by the 
last named Reptiles, yet having entered plainly into the food of the 
aquatic species of Turtles. 

The Coleoptera, or Beetles, present a very wide range of food, 
structure, and economy. Many insects belonging to this order were 
eaten by Turtles. Undeterminable fragments of beetles were found 
in the stomachs of all species of Turtles, excepting two, while un- 
determined beetles recognized to be in the larval stage were found 
in only two. Nothing can be said of the economic effect or value 
of insects which are so fragmentary as to be unrecognizable. 

The ground beetles are beneficial insects, in general, because they 
are predaceous in habits and feed upon other insects. This family 
was found represented in the stomachs of the Musk Turtle, three 
specimens of Painted Turtle, the Wood Turtle, two Speckled Turtles 
and some Box Turtles. 

The lower families of beetles are mostly aquatic, living on or in 
the water. Some feed upon other insects and small aquatic organ- 
isms, and all act as scavengers. Among these are the Diving Beetles 
which are obnoxious because they may feed upon small fishes. 
These predaceous insects or diving beetles were devoured by one 
Snapper, one Painted Turtle and two Speckled Turtles. The Whirli- 
gig Beetles are the little dark insects which gyrate or whirl around 
rapidly on the surface of the water and are scavengers. These were 
found represented in the stomach of only one Snapper. The Water 
Scavengers are large dark beetles living in the water, and according 
to their name are beneficial in cleaning up dead material found in 
their realm. They were found eaten by only one Snapper. 

June Bugs and Rose Bugs are among the most serious enemies of 
vegetation, in both their larval and adult stages. The young of the 
June Bug, and also of the Flower Beetle, are known as white grubs 
and feed upon the roots of plants in the ground. These insects were 


eaten by the Spcokletl Turtle, whilf ;ih iiiany i\n ten I'aintrd Turth'S 
wei"e found to have eaten rovsc bugs, aud two Sp<'(UI('d TurtlcH had 
devoured the same pest. I^* af Heetles, which are (juite destructive 
to tlie foliage of plants, were eaten by four Tainted Turtles, the 
Wood Turtle and some Speckled Turtles. Snout Beetles or weevils, 
which are serious plant pests, were eaten by the Painted Turtle and 
the Speckled Turtle. 

The Hymenoplerous insects, represented by the ants, wawps, and 
bees, were not extensively devoured by Turtles. Sawflies were found 
in the stomachs of the Wood and the Speckled Turtle. Ants were 
found eaten by a Painted Turtle and the Wood Tortoise, and a few 
other insects of that order were taken by these reptiles. 

It is in the study of the vertebrate food that remarkably interest- 
ing results are obtained. For example, vertebrates were not found 
eaten by the Common Soft-shelled Turtles, although it is our opinion 
that this reptile will feed upon tlesh when it has an opportunity. 
Undetermined fragments of vertebrates were found in the stomachs 
of two Snappers, two Painted Turtles and two Wood Turtles, and 
tish were found eaten by two Snappers and four Painted Turtles. 
One of the fishes was determined as a Sucker (Catostoma). A frog 
was found in the stomach of a Snapjjer, and two snakes were found 
eaten by this reptile. Birds had been devoured by a Snapping Turtle 
and by two Wood Turtles. An undetermined portion of a mammal 
was found in the stomach of a Snapper, while a rabbit was found to 
have been eaten by another Snapper, and mice had been swallowed 
by two Snappers and a Common Box Turtle. It is probable that any 
small animal that drops in the water and drowns or becomes help- 
less may be captured and eaten by Turtles. We know that the 
aquatic species of those reptiles are often very injurious to fishes in 
fish ponds. Their presence frequently can be determined by the 
presence of the air bladders of fishes floating on the water. When 
the fish is caught by the Turtle the cutting edge of the mouth often 
opens the body of the fish in such a way that the air bladder e8cap«es 
and rises to the surface. The Turtle is the only creature feeding 
under water that cuts the fish to pieces in such a way as to permit 
the air bladder to escape and come to the surface of the water, and 
thus tell the story of a combat and 

The positive determination of a rabbit having lx?en eaten by a 
Snapping Turtle is remarkable. If we could dare, in a .serious scien- 
tific report, to insert a facetious remark, it would be to the offect 
that in the proverbial race between the Tortoise and the Hare it is 
not so wonderful that hi.«tory sliould record the winning by the 
former, since scientific research now definitely shows it may have 
swallowed its competitor. 



The vertical coluniDs refer to species by our number, as follows: 

2. Aspidonectes spinifer (Le Sueur). The common Soft-shelled Turtle. 
4. Chelydra serpentina (L.). The common Snapping Turtle. 

6. Aromochelys odoratus (Latreille). The Musk Turtle. 

7. Graptemys geographicus (Le Sueur). The Map Turtle. 
12. Chrysemys picta (Hermann). The Painted Turtle. 

14. (Jlemmys muhlenbergi (Schweigger). Muhlenberg's Turtle. 

15. Clemmys insculptus (Le Conte). The "Wood Tortoise. 

16. Clemmys guttatus (Schneider). The Spreckled Tortoise. 
18. Terrapene Carolina (L.). The common Box Turtle. 



















t— t 





























Number containing vegetable matter 

Cryptogamia (Flowerless Plants). 


Fungi (Plants without Chlorophyl). 




Bryophyta (Mosses and Liverworts). 
Hepaticse (Liverworts). 



Musci (Mosses): 



Phanerogamia (Flowering Plants): 
















Spathyema foetida (Skunk Cabbage), leaves, 


Betula sp (Birch) leaf 




Asimina triloba (Papaw). fruit 



Lepidlum virginicum (Pepper Grass), seeds 


Rubus sp (Blackberry) seeds 




Fragaria sp. (Strawberry), fruit and seeds,.. 



Drupacejs Prunus sp. (Cherry), seeds, ... 




Ilex verticillata (Black Alder), seeds 

Vitis labrusca (Fox Gi-apes) 

Washingtona sp. (Sweet Cicely) 


Pyrola rotundifolia (Wintergreen), 

Physalis sp. (Ground Cherry), 

Solanum sp. (Nightshade), berries 




Chelnne glabra (Turtle-hea>d), seeds 

Plantago major (Plantain) 

Mitchella repens (Partridge Berry), fruit, .. 

Sambucus canadensis (Common Elder), 


Bird's Wheat Moss 


Number containing animal matter 










































Annuluta (lUnscd Worms): 

Undeteriulned I 

Liumbrlcus sp. (Earth-worm), ; ...l. 

Mollusca (Mollusks, Slugs and Snails) 

Univalves (Slugs and Snails): 



Helix hlrsuta (Land Snail) .' 

Pond Snails 

Bivalves (Mussels) 


Crustacea 2 


Cambarus sp. (Crayfish). 2 


Onlscidae (Sow-bug Family) 

Myriapoda (Millipedes), 

Arachnida (Spiders). 

Insecta (Insects), 1 

Undetermined, fragments 

Undetermined, adults 

Undetermined, larvae, 

Undetermined, aquatic nymphs. 

Ephemerlda (May-flies), nymphs, 

Odonata (Dragon-flies). 

Undetermined nymi<hs 

Agrlonidae (Damsol-fllos). adults 

Agrlonldse (Uamsi^l-flies). nymphs, 

Plecoptera (Stone-flies), nymph, 

Orthoptera (Straight Winged Insects),.. 
Acridida (Short-horned Grasshoppers): 


Melanoplus femur-rubrum. Red-leg 


I>ocustid£e (Long-horned Grasshoppers): 


Gryllidae (Oickets): 


Gryllus pennsylvanlcus 

Gryllotalpa sp. (Mole-Cricket). 

Hemlptera. Bugs 

Pentatomida: (Stlnk-hugs) 

Corlsidfe (Water Boatman) 

Notonectldae (Back Swimmers) 

Belostomldie (Giant Water-bugs): 

Zaitha flumlnea ' 

Hydrobatidjp (Water-striders) 

Jassidse (Leaf-hoppers) 

Neuroptera (Nerve-winged Insects): 

T'ndf^termlncd larvre. 

SialidsB (P^bson-fly Family) 

Lepidoptera (Butterfllps and Moths) 

Undetermined, adults 

I'ndeterminrcl. larv.-B 

Undetermined. pupsP 

Notodontldje (The Promlnents): 

Datana minlstra (Yellow Necked)., 

Nootuldse 1 

T'^ndetermlned larvae i 

Moth I 

DIptera (Files), I 

Undetermined adult flies 

Undetermined larvre. ' 

TTndetermlned pupu?. 

TIpulldsB (Crane-flle.i). Iar\-ee [ 

rTilronomldfB (Midges). 

Stratlnmylldfe larv-n. .. 
Syrphidse, Syrplius Fll<^^ 

TTndetermlned larv.T" 

Undetermined pupa^. 



















































Dytiscidee (Predaceous Diving-beetles), ,. 








Macrodactylus subspinosus (Rose- 


Euphoria inda (Bumble Flower- 



Donacia sp. (Long--horned Leaf- 






Hymenoptera (Ants. "Wasps, etc.), 


- 1 






s ; 

2 1 







Mammalia (The Mammals), 


Muridse (Mice) 



Glossarj of Scieutiflc Titius Used in Tiirtlf Hulhliri. 

Adult, mature. 

Anterior, front. 

Carapace, the upper eliell. 

Class, a major group of organusms, such as Kept ilia, composed of 

Concentric, a series of more or less circular markings each within 

Costal, belonging to the ribs. 
Depressed, flattened vertically. 
Dilation, enlargement. 
Dorsal, belonging to the back. 

Family, the first group smaller than order, composed of genera. 
Iris, colored portion of the eye. 
Keel, a ridge, a raised line. 
Lateral, along the side. 
Lobe, a flap or lid. 
Longitudinal, lengthwise. 
Marginal, pertaining to the edge. 

Order, first group division of a class, composed of families. 
Osseous, bony. 
Plastron, the lower shell. 
Posterior, rear or hinder. 
Proboscis, snout. 

Scute, any external bony or horny platip. 
Serration, edged like saw teeth. 

Species, the lowest recognized natural grouping, composing genera. 
Spine, a sharp pointed projection. 
Striae, stripes, streaks or scratches. 
Striations, fine grooves or scratches. 

Transverse, across. i 

Tubercles, small fleshy projections. 
Ventral, belonging to the under side. 
Vertebral, pertaining to the backbone. 


1802— Shaw, Geo.— General Zoology. Vol. Ill, Part 1. Amphibia. 
1829 — LeGonte, Major J. — Description of the Species of N. A. Tor- 
toises. Ann. Lye. Nat. Hist, of N. Y. Ill, 91-13L 
1831 — Cuvier, Baron — The Animal Kingdom. Vol. IX. 
1835 — Harlan, R. — Genera of N. Am. Reptilia, and a Synopsis of the 

Species. — Medical and Physical Researches. P. 84. 
1842 — Holbrook, John Edward — North American Herpetology. Vol. I. 
1842 — DeKay, James — Zoology of New York. — Part III, Reptiles 

and Amphibia. 
1882 — Smith, W. H. — Report on the Reptiles and Amphibians of 

Ohio. Rep. Geol. Snrv. O., Vol. IV, Part 1. 
1891— Hay, O. P.— The Batrachians and Reptiles of the State of 

Indiana. 17th Rep. State Geologist of Indiana. PP. 

1899 — Smith, Eugene — The Turtles and Lizards of the Vicinity of 

New York City. — Abstract, Proc. Linnean Soc. of N. Y., 

1898-99, No. 11, Pages 11 to 32. 
1904— Jordan, D. S.— Manual of Vertebrates.— 9th Edition. 
1905 — Ditmars, R. L. — The Reptiles in the Vicinity of New York 

City. Amer. Mus. Journal, Vol. V, No. 3, July, pp. 93-140, 

figs. 1 to 47. 
1905 — Nash, C. W. — Check List of Batrachians, Reptiles and Mam- 
mals of Ontario. Department of Education, Toronto, Ont., 

Can., Nov. 15, 1905. 
1906 — Stone, Witmer — Notes on Reptiles and Batrachians of Penna., 

New Jersey and Delaware. Amer. Nat., Vol. 471, Mar. 1906. 

pp. 159-170. 
1906 — Fowler, H. W. — The Amphibians and Reptiles of New Jersey. 

Ann. Rept. New Jersey State Museum, 1906. pp. 2.3-408, 

pi. 122. 
1907— Ditmars, R. L.— The Reptile Book. 




Acknowledgments 108 

Agassiz's Turtle 123 

Amyda mutica (LeSueur) 119 

Aromochelys odoratus (Latrellle) 135 

Aspldonectes agrasslzi Baur 123 

Aspidonectes spinifer (T.eSeuer) 121 

Blandingr's Turtle 169 

Box Turtles ' 132 

Capture 113 

Chelydra serpentina 124 

Chelydridae > 124 

Chrysemys picta (Hermann) 146 

Chrysemys marginata (Agassiz) 154 

Classification 107 

Clemmys guttatus (Schneider) 164 

Clemmys insculptus 168 

Clemmys muhlenbergi 156 

Common Box Turtle 170 

Common Snapping Turtle 125 

Common Soft-shellod Turtle 121 

Diamond-back Turtle 143 

Economy 117 

Eggg 112 

Emydidae 139 

Emydoidea blandingi (Hnllir.) 169 

Enemies 115 

False Map Turtle 142 

Glossary 193 

Graptemys geographlcus (Le Sueur) , 140 

Graptemys pseudogeographicus (Holbr.) 142 

. Habits Ill 

Hibernation 113 

Hieroglyphic Turtle 146 

Kinosternidae 132 

Klnosternon pennsylvanicum (Bosc.) 134 

Leather Turtle ; 119 

Malaclemmys centrata (I^atr.) 143 

Map Turtle 140 

Margined Turtle li>4 

Mud Turtle 134 

Muhlenberg's Turtle IflS 

Musk Turtle 135 

Painted Turtle 146 

Pond Turtles 139 

Protection • 11* 

Pseudemys hieroglyphica (Holbrook) 146 

Pseudemys rubrlventris (Lee). ^^^ 

Red-bellied Turtle 145 

Snapping Turtle 124 

Soft-shelled Turtle 121 

Speckled Turtle 1*4 

Terrapene Carolina (L.) 170 

Trlonycliidae ^^3 

Wood Turtle 158 

w-!!^f^ , 


Plate IV. (a) Common Snapping Turtle, (b) Common Snapping: Turtle; on 
its back. (From American Muoeum Journal Vol. V. No. 3. July 190o.) 

Plate V. (a) Musk Turtle, (b) Diamond Back, on its back. (From Am. 
Mus. Journ. Vol. V, No. 3.) 

Plate VI. (a) Painted Turtle, (b) Painted Turtle, on Its back. (From Am. 
Mus. Journ. Vol. V, No. 3.) 

S 3 


m 0) 


01 !^ 

trj (a 

o 5 •* 

to 2. & 



onj p 

O O 



<< o 

S3 p^ 
^ (6 

P a 

o '^ 

-! 3 

p <->■ 

Plate IX. Muhlenberg's Turtle. (a) Lacking- color pattern; (b) color pattern 
present. (Prom Am. Mus. Journ. Vol. 5, No. 3.) 


^ -^^ 

Plate X. ui) ■-'- : Turtle, (b) Wood Turtle. 
(From Am. Mus. Journ. Vol. 5, No. 3.) 

on Its back. 

Plate XI. (a) Speckled Turtle, (b) Common Box Turtle. (From Am. Mus. 
Journ., Vol. V, No. 3.) 




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