Western Chicken Turtle

Deirochelys reticularia miaria

This is a small- to medium-sized turtle with an oval shell and extremely long neck. The western chicken turtle is one of the rarest species of turtle in Missouri. The upper shell may be brown or olive, with faint, yellowish-brown lines forming a netlike pattern over the shell. The lower shell is yellow with some brown color along the scute seams. The head and limbs are brown or black with numerous yellow or yellowish-green stripes. The underside of the head and neck is plain yellow.

Upper shell length of adults range from 4 to 6 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
This species prefers still to slow-moving aquatic habitats, including swamps, river sloughs, oxbow lakes and drainage ditches. It spends much time basking in the sun on logs with its long neck stretched out. This species is known to wander about on land. Due to habitat loss, the western chicken turtle is an endangered species in our state.
Distribution in Missouri: 
At one time the western chicken turtle was probably common in the swamps of extreme southeastern Missouri. Now only a couple of locations are known.
Endangered in Missouri; a Species of Conservation Concern.
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