Although there is no conservation status for the spotted turtle on a Federal level, it is listed as special concern in NY State. Other states with conservation concern include Illinois and Ohio where it is listed as endangered; Maine and Vermont where is it listed threatened; Indiana where it is listed as special concern and Massachusetts, where it is listed as protected. Loss of habitat has been largely responsible for the major decline of the spotted turtle throughout its entire New York State range. This turtle is very sensitive to pollution and toxicants and disappears rapidly with declining water quality. To further stress the species, pet collecting is currently responsible for the annual loss of significant numbers.
The range of spotted turtles extends from southern Maine and extreme southern Ontario west to Illinois and south to northern Florida in the east. Isolated colonies can be found in southern Quebec, southern Ontario, central Illinois, central Georgia and north-central Florida. Spotted turtles prefer shallow waters with a soft bottom substrate and both submerged and emergent vegetation. These can include sedge meadows, boggy ponds, fens, tamarack swamps and slow, muddy streams.
Spotted turtles eat a variety of plant and animal foods, which are consumed in the water. Vegetable foods include algae, leaves of soft aquatic plants, and water lily seeds. Animal foods include worms, mollusks, crustaceans, adult and larval insects, amphibian eggs and larvae and carrion.