Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to one of my all time favorite turtle species, the spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata). Since no one has produced this species in plastic I am forced to review a plush specimen instead [EDIT: Apparently there is a spotted turtle by Play Visions that was also re-released by Yujin]. Naturally it’s part of the Wild Republic line by K&M International, the premier producer of a diverse range of quality plush animals.
This particular turtle came home with me from the gift shop at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Pennsylvania, USA, but finding an actual living specimen was a goal of mine for a long time. As an amateur field herper living in New York State this was the holy grail of turtles for me. This is a species that I searched for every spring, in all the right places and never found. It was not until I moved to Maryland three years ago that I finally saw them and it was only this past May that I was able to physically interact with one. It was the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had since childhood.
The spotted turtle is an enigmatic species, almost mythical among those of us who enjoy looking for reptiles in the wild. It’s a small turtle, only reaching 5” (12.7 cm) and it lives in places as enchanting as the turtle itself; vernal pools, bogs, swamps, and marshes. Beautiful places that are often inhospitable to humans. Add its relative scarcity, secretive nature, and bold and beautiful markings into the mix and it’s easy to see how this little turtle can so capture one’s imagination.
This plush spotted turtle measures about 14” (35.5 cm) in length which makes it significantly larger than life size. It faithfully recreates the turtle’s black base color and yellow spots; like stars against the night sky. This particular turtle is heavily spotted but the number of spots can vary, some spotted turtles don’t have spots at all while others have hundreds of them.
The plastron (shell bottom) of this turtle is incorrect though. It should be yellow or orangish with black splotches but here it’s all black. The portion of the shell that connects the plastron to the carapace (top) is also absent but this appears common in turtle plushes and some plush turtles lack a plastron all together, as we’ll see in a later review.
The body of the turtle is largely black with yellow spots, as it should be. Spotted turtles also have orange markings around the face that are absent here. The digits on the hands and feet, which are made of felt, only number four on each when there should be five. No mouth or nostrils are present.
The spots and yellow lines that highlight the scutes are painted onto the plush which makes them prone to cracking and flaking off. Aside from that the toy is sturdily constructed with tight seams that don’t appear to be coming undone any time soon.
Although a greatly simplified version of the real deal this plush does a swell enough job of conveying what these striking turtles look like. If you have an affinity for North American turtles and plush animals then I cannot imagine you’ll be disappointed by this one.
Lastly I feel the need to commend Wild Republic for producing such obscure and local animal species. My daughter has a large collection of local animals that should serve well in educating her about them and formulating a personal connection to animals we often ignore; those in our own back yards.