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Western chicken turtle information wanted

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is looking for help from outdoors enthusiasts and the growing segment of watchable wildlife dedicated to reptiles and amphibians to report western chicken turtles they may find while enjoying the outdoors in The Natural State.

The AGFC is interested in locations where anyone in the public sees a western chicken turtle to help develop a conservation management plan for the species that includes all portions of the state where they are known to exist.

The public can contribute by submitting photos with location information to Kelly Irwin, AGFC herpetologist, at kelly.irwin@agfc.ar.gov or by texting 501-539-0431. 

Arkansas is home to 14 species of aquatic turtles, most of which are common, wide-ranging species. The western chicken turtle is the most uncommon of all Arkansas’s turtle species. It is active March through July and lives in shallow wetlands with aquatic vegetation.

Sometimes confused with the more abundant red-eared slider, western chicken turtles are identified by having only one solid yellow bar across their front legs and vertical stripes along their rumps (under the shell). Red-eared sliders have multiple pinstripes down their front legs and oval-shaped blotches along their rear quarters.

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