The bog turtle is a semiaquatic turtle that is endemic to the eastern
United States. It was discovered in Pennsylvania in the 18th century
and first scientifically described in 1801. It is the smallest North
American turtle, measuring about 10 centimeters (4 in) long when fully
grown. Although the bog turtle is similar in appearance to the painted
or spotted turtles, its closest relative is the somewhat larger wood
turtle. The bog turtle can be found from Vermont in the north, south to
Georgia and west to Ohio. Diurnal and secretive, it spends most of its
time buried in mud and, during the winter months, in hibernation. The
bog turtle is omnivorous, feeding mainly on small invertebrates. Adult
bog turtles weigh 110 grams (3.9 oz) on average. Their skins and shells
are typically dark brown, with a distinctive orange spot on each side
of the neck. Considered threatened at the federal level, the bog turtle
is protected under the United States' Endangered Species Act. Invasive
plants and urban development have eradicated much of the bog turtle's
habitat, substantially reducing its numbers. Demand for the bog turtle
is high in the black market pet trade, partly because of its small size
and unique characteristics. Various private projects have been
undertaken in an attempt to reverse the decline in the turtle's
population. The turtle has a low reproduction rate; females lay an
average of three eggs per clutch and lay one clutch per year. The young
tend to grow rapidly, reaching sexual maturity between the ages of 4
and 10 years old. Bog turtles live for an average of 20 to 30 years in
the wild. Since 1973, the Bronx Zoo has successfully bred bog turtles
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Napoleonic Wars: Forces of the Sixth Coalition under Michael Andreas
Barclay de Tolly captured French General Dominique Vandamme and
thousands of his soldiers at the Battle of Kulm.
European settlers landing on the north banks of the Yarra River in
Southern Australia founded the city of Melbourne.
American Civil War: James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson led their
Confederate troops to a decisive victory against John Pope's Union Army
at the Second Battle of Bull Run in Prince William County, Virginia.
Fanny Kaplan shot and wounded Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, helping
to spark the Red Terror in the Soviet Union, a repression against
Socialist-Revolutionary Party members and other political opponents.
The people of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a
United Nations-supervised referendum.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
A confection of honey or sugar and roasted nuts, often with other
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The animals of the Burgess Shale are holy objects — in the
unconventional sense that this word conveys in some cultures. We do not
place them on pedestals and worship from afar. We climb mountains and
dynamite hillsides to find them. We quarry them, split them, carve
them, draw them, and dissect them, struggling to wrest their secrets.
We vilify and curse them for their damnable intransigence. They are
grubby little creatures of a sea floor 530 million years old, but we
greet them with awe because they are the Old Ones, and they are trying
to tell us something.
--Stephen Jay Gould