Given their somewhat relaxed nature and relatively slow reaction time, turtles are one of the easier reptile species to observe. The shell affords the turtle luxury and is vital to their survival. Coyotes have been known to dig at a box turtle's shell for half an hour, only to give up with the turtle none worse for the wear. Prince William Forest Park is fortunate enough to have a healthy population of turtles. Here are some of the turtles you might come across during a walk in the park.

midland painted turtle walking in grass
Midland painted turtle

Andrew Hoffman

Painted Turtles

Pond turtles can be frequently seen at the park’s lakes, basking in the sunshine on either a log or floating at the water’s surface. Usually these will be painted turtles but some other species may be present as well.

Box turtle, with yellow spots, laying in water
Box turtle

Andrew Hoffman

Box Turtle

The Eastern Box Turtle species is declining in most areas due to over development and forest fragmentation. Here in Prince William Forest Park, after a nice summer rain, you may see many of them venturing out on the trails in plain view. Box turtles have a tremendous homing instinct and removing one from its territory usually proves fatal as they roam the area searching for their home. Along the way, encounters with toads, dogs, and other predators can occur.

Last updated: October 4, 2017

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Triangle, VA 22172


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