The bog turtle is one of the smallest turtle species in North America.
The bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) is now the official state reptile of the state of New Jersey thanks to some very persistent fourth grade students who essentially lobbied New Jersey’s state legislators to make the endangered species the state reptile.
The students from Princeton elementary schools have been pushing for the reptile to get the recognition for the last two years, and today, June 18, Gov. Phil Murphy signed state Senate bill 3145 and Assembly bill 5048 into law.
"Happy to announce that New Jersey’s official state reptile is now the bog turtle," the governor wrote on his official Facebook page. “Thanks to a dedicated group of elementary school students, teachers and lawmakers, we can help shine a light on bog turtles – once a thriving species in New Jersey, now on the verge of extinction.
The bog turtle is now the official state reptile of New Jersey.
“Not many bog turtles are left in the world. We don’t know the current population but we estimate it to be about 2,500 to 10,000 in the whole world,” student Anna Kauffman said last month in a video posted to Twitter by New Jersey Assembly Democrats. “If we don't help them now or in the future, bog turtles might be on the verge of extinction.”
Watch: Fourth graders from Princeton elementary schools testified before the Assembly Environment Committee on the bill they inspired, to make the bog turtle New Jersey’s official state reptile. @AndrewZwicker @AsmRoyFreiman pic.twitter.com/tx6hDAUufH
— NJAssemblyDemocrats (@njassemblydems) May 10, 2018
Bog turtles are one of the smallest turtle species in North America, and one of the rarest and most endangered. It is known for its orange blotches on each side of its head and rarely exceeds 4 inches in carapace length. The reptile lives in bog areas, swamps, and shallow marshes, in clear, slow-flowing water.
Now that the turtle is the official state reptile, awareness regarding its plight should become more amplified as more folks learn about one of the smallest turtles in North America.