The Whisker Chronicles

Whiskers are also known as vibrissa, from the latin vibrare "to vibrate". Vibrissa are the specialized hairs on mammals and the bristlelike feathers near the mouths of many birds. Their resonant design is symbolic of the energies, good and bad, that are reverberating throughout the natural world. Every living thing is connected and, by birthright, deserves to exist.

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Bog Turtle

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Scientific Name:   Clemmys muhlenbergii

Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1997

Endangered Species Listing Status:  Threatened

Conservation Efforts and Partners:  

In 1986, a program began in Tennessee that ultimately became a partnership between the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Knoxville Zoo, The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee and many private landowners.  What started with the discovery of a couple of bog turtles later evolved into a program that includes in situ ecological studies, radio telemetry to track turtle movement and habitat use, wetland restoration projects, school education programs, habitat protection, captive-breeding and experimental release.  Many other zoos are involved in similar conservation efforts, including Zoo Atlanta and the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

These are pretty impressive efforts for one of the smallest turtles in the world!                                   

Where Bog Turtles Live:   

Marshes, swamps and, of course, bogs in a fragmented range in the Eastern United States.

Bog turtle range map courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bog turtle range map courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

What Bog Turtles Eat:   

Amphibians (frogs, salamanders, newts, toads), insects, worms, mollusks (mussels), crawfish, carrion, leaves, seeds, grains, nuts and fruit.

How Long Bog Turtles Live:  40 years 

How We Can All Help Bog Turtles (As specified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service): 

Please report to the authorities anyone you suspect or know to be taking and/or selling bog turtles.  One of their biggest threats is the pet trade.  You should never take any turtle from the wild as a pet.  

If you see a bog turtle crossing the road, carefully pick it up and carry it across the road in the same direction it was moving.  But do not take the risk of being struck by a vehicle to do so.

Take care how you treat wetlands on your property and refrain from dumping trash in it. The wet meadow on your property may be helping to recharge and purify your well water. Protecting the wetlands where bog turtles live can directly benefit the quality of water for people living in the area.

If they are found in your area, consider bog turtles in community planning.

If you think you may have potential habitat, please contact your state wildlife agency or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
1 800/344 WILD

Here is an informative video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on conservation efforts for the bog turtle in New Jersey.  Watch it to see how cows, sheep and goats are very helpful in these efforts!

Like I often say, every living thing is connected.

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2014 by in Endangered Species, Reptiles, Wildlife.
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