This small turtle is one of only two species of turtles native to Oregon. Both species are listed as “sensitive-critical” and are threatened or endangered in parts of their habitat. We are lucky in Southern Oregon to have a decent population of western pond turtles.
Both the painted turtle and the western pond turtle are threatened due to invasive turtle species (often former exotic pets), habitat loss and degradation, and people illegally taking them in as pets.
Did you know that pond turtles are not fully aquatic? Pond turtles are known to journey up into forested areas during winter months to hibernate. Once it warms up, they migrate back towards areas with water. This seasonal migration puts turtles in situations where they have to cross roads and through yards. If you see a turtle crossing a road, if it is safe to do so, move it to the side of the road that it is headed.
If you see a turtle that has been hit or hit a turtle, call your local wildlife rehabilitator for help. Each year, Wildlife Images takes care of a few pond turtles that are hit by cars.
As most people know, turtles do not move very quickly. They have a slow metabolism and this means that they heal very slowly from injuries. If we get a turtle in with a cracked shell, we can expect to have that turtle for 6-12 months or sometimes even longer.