Native to North America, Blanding’s turtle is a semi-aquatic turtle within the family Emydidate. Unlike other turtles that hibernate in deep caves and underground dwellings, Blanding’s turtles choose to hibernate completely underwater. From fall to spring, these interesting reptiles reside in cold, muddy underwater burrows. Blanding’s turtle reproduces late in life, as sexual maturity occurs after about eighteen years for females and twelve for males. Late maturity rates combined with habitat loss, predation of hatchlings and high road mortality rates have greatly reduced the survival rate of blanding’s turtles. due to these conditions, the reptile is considered to be a threatened species in New York State and an endangered species in Indiana.
Blanding’s turtles are found in or near water; during hibernation t(fall to spring) they are found underwater and during matting season (April-May)and through nesting (June) they can be found more than a kilometer from hibernation burrows. Blanding’s turtles are distributed within the Great Lakes region and extend from central Nebraska to Minnesota, as well as, parts of Ontario and Nova Scotia, southeastern NY, and New England.
Life Span: It takes 18-22 years for Blanding’s turtles to reach sexual maturity; adults can live up to 70 years!
Size: Blanding’s turtles are medium sized with an average shell length of about seven to nine inches with a maximum length of about ten inches.
Shell: the upper shell is domed and slightly flattened along the midline and looks oblong when viewed from above. the lower shell or (plastron) is yellow in color with dark symmetrically arranged blotches.
Body: Head and legs are dark with speckled or mottled yellow markings.
Distinguishing Features: Blanding’s turtles have a bright yellow chin and throat that set them apart from other turtles.
Title photo: (http://twitt.ch/geo/images/blanding_turtle.JPG)
Yellow neck of blanding’s turtle photo: (https://room305blandingsturtles.wordpress.com/page/3/).
Blanding’s turtle shell photo: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blanding%27s_turtle).
Blanding’s body pic: (http://hudsonia.org/programs/conservation-ecology/blandings-turtle/natural-history/)
“Blanding’s Turtle Fact Sheet.” Blanding’s Turtle Fact Sheet. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2015. <http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7166.html>.
“Journey with Nature Blanding’s Turtles.” Learn About the Blanding’s Turtle | The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy, n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2015. <http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/indiana/journeywithnature/blandings-turtles.xml>.