Turtles of Virginia

Virginia Turtle Identification Guide | Virginia Turtle Measurements

Eastern Spiny Softshell
(Apalone spinifera spinifera)
Average Length (Male): 5 - 9.25 in. (12.5 - 23.5 cm)
Average Length (Female): 7 - 17 in. (18 - 43.2 cm)

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier IV

Snapping Turtle
(Chelydra serpentina)
Average Length: 8 - 14 in. (20.3 - 36 cm)

Eastern Painted Turtle
(Chrysemys picta picta)
Average Length: 4.5 - 6 in. (11.5 - 15.2 cm)

Spotted Turtle
(Clemmys guttata)
Average Length: 3.25 - 4.5 in. (9 - 11.5 cm)

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier III

Eastern Chicken Turtle
(Deirochelys reticularia reticularia)
Average Length: 4 - 6 in. (10 - 15.2 cm)

* State Endangered *

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier I

Wood Turtle
(Glyptemys insculpta)
Average Length: 5.5 - 8 in. (14 - 20 cm)

* State Threatened *

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier I

Bog Turtle
(Glyptemys muhlenbergii)
Average Length: 3 - 3.5 in. (7.5 - 9 cm)

* Federal Threatened State Endangered *

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier I

Northern Map Turtle
(Graptemys geographica)
Average Length (Male): 3.25 - 6.25 in. (9 - 15.9 cm)
Average Length (Female): 7 - 10.8 in. (18 - 27.3 cm)

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier IV

Striped Mud Turtle>
(Kinosternon baurii)
Average Length: 3 - 4 in. (7.5 - 10 cm)

Eastern Mud Turtle
(Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum)
Average Length: 2.75 - 4 in. (7 - 10 cm)

Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin
(Malaclemys terrapin terrapin)
Average Length (Males): 4 - 5.5 in. (10 - 14 cm)
Average Length (Females): 6 - 9 in. (15.2 - 22.9 cm)

* Federal Species of Concern *

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier II

Eastern River Cooter
(Pseudemys concinna concinna)
Average Length: 9 - 12 in. (23 - 30.6 cm)

Coastal Plain Cooter
(Pseudemys concinna floridana)
Average Length: 9 - 13 in. (23 - 33 cm)

Northern Red-bellied Cooter
(Pseudemys rubriventris)
Average Length: 10 - 12.5 in. (25.4 - 32 cm)

Stripe-necked Musk Turtle
(Sternotherus minor peltifer)
Average Length: 3 - 4 in. (7.5 - 10 cm)

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier IV

Eastern Musk Turtle
(Sternotherus odoratus)
Average Length: 2 - 4 in. (5.1 - 11.5 cm)

Woodland Box Turtle
(Terrapene carolina carolina)
Average Length: 4.5 - 6 in. (11.5 - 15.2 cm)

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier III

Red-eared Slider
(Trachemys scripta elegans)
Average Length: 5 - 8 in. (12.5 - 20.3 cm)

Yellow-bellied Slider
(Trachemys scripta scripta)
Average Length: 5 - 8 in. (12.5 - 20.3 cm)

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating:Tier IV

Cumberland Slider
(Trachemys scripta troostii)
Average Length: 5 - 8 in. (12.5 - 20.3 cm)

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier III

SEA TURTLES

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
(Caretta caretta)
Average Length: 31 - 45 in. (79 - 114 cm)

* Federal Threatened State Endangered *

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating: Tier I

Green Sea Turtle
(Chelonia mydas)
Average Length: 36 - 48 in. (90 - 122 cm)

* Federal Threatened State Threatened *

Leatherback Sea Turtle
(Dermochelys coriacea)
Average Length: 53 - 70 in. (135 - 178 cm)

* Federal Endangered State Endangered *

Atlantic Hawksbill Sea Turtle
(Eretmochelys imbricata imbricata)
Average Length: 30 - 35 in. (76 - 89 cm)

* Federal Endangered State Endangered *

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
(Lepidochelys kempii)
Average Length: 23 - 27.5 in. (58 - 70 cm)

* Federal Endangered State Endangered *


The Virginia Herpetological Society follows the naming conventions set forth by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, The Herpetologists’ League, and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating Tier IV - Moderate Conservation Need - The species may be rare in parts of its range, particularly on the periphery. Populations of these species have demonstrated a significant declining trend or one is suspected which, if continued, is likely to qualify this species for a higher tier in the foreseeable future. Long-term planning is necessary to stabilize or increase populations.

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating Tier III - High Conservation Need - Extinction or extirpation is possible. Populations of these species are in decline or have declined to low levels or are in a restricted range. Management action is needed to stabilize or increase populations.

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating Tier II - Very High Conservation Need - Has a high risk of extinction or extirpation. Populations of these species are at very low levels, facing real threat(s), or occur within a very limited distribution. Immediate management is needed for stabilization and recovery.

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating Tier I - Critical Conservation Need - Faces an extremely high risk of extinction or extirpation. Populations of these species are at critically low levels, facing immediate threat(s), or occur within an extremely limited range. Intense and immediate management action is needed.

The DGIF generated maps include the Eastern Shore. The maps look different because the boundaries used are the actual jurisdictional boundaries, which include much of the water in the Chesapeake Bay, thus Accomack and Northampton Counties look like they are connected to the rest of the state. Other jurisdictions may look odd, too, since they include their boundaries out into the Bay and other waterbodies (such as Mathews County, York County, City of Poquoson, and City of Hampton).

FROGS

Virginia is home to 28 species of frogs and toads.

SALAMANDERS

We have a large diversity of salamanders consisting of 56 different species and subspecies.

LIZARDS

Virginia is home to 9 native lizard species and two introduced species, the Mediterranean Gecko and the Italian Wall Lizard.

SNAKES

The Commonwealth is home to 34 species and subspecies of snake. Only 3 species are venomous.

TURTLES

Virginia has 25 species and subspecies of turtle. Five of these species are sea turtle.