They're slow, they live as long as some humans, they swim, crawl, and some of them are kinda cute. It's turtles! And the State of Michigan has 10 different species that vary from cute to downright scary.

What You Need to Know About Handling Turtles in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has placed 4 of the state's 10 species in protected categories:

  • Blanding’s Turtle - Special Concern
  • Eastern Box Turtle - Special Concern
  • Spotted Turtle – Threatened
  • Wood Turtle - Special Concern

Related: Bigfoot and Dogman Are NOTHING Compared to Michigan Snappers

Special concern designation means the species is on the brink of becoming threatened. A threatened designation means the species is protected under state law and, possession of or harming these creatures may result in hefty fines and other penalties.

What You Can Do to Help the Michigan Turtle Population

Michigan conservation programs do what they can to provide species of concern with the protection they and their habitats need. These services come at a cost, so if you'd like to help animals that are endangered in Michigan, here is what the DNR recommends:

  • Learning all you can about our native turtles. Check out the library and visit parks and nature centers that offer turtle programs.
  • Knowing your state and federal laws that protect turtles and their habitats.
  • Purchasing a fishing license.
  • Supporting efforts to protect turtle habitat.
  • Enjoy watching turtles in the wild but DO NOT take them home as pets. Michigan’s turtles belong in the wild.
  • Never buy wild caught turtles from pet dealers and do not release captive-reared turtles into the wild.
  • Be alert for turtles crossing roads. Only if it can be done safely, you can help a turtle cross a road. Always move it in the direction it was heading.
  • Reporting any turtle sightings to and help us measure changes or trends in their populations.

Related: The Deadly 7: Michigan's Most Venomous and Poisonous Threats

Now that you know more about Michigan's slow but sturdy friends, let's take a closer look at each of The 10 Species of Turtle Found in Michigan:

Fierce and Adorable: The 10 Turtle Species of Michigan

Michigan's guide to the 10 turtle species found throughout the state. From the state reptile to the Mitten States largest, this list covers every species from Box to Snapper.


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