Scientific Name: Emydoidea blandingii
Mature Blanding's turtles average 27 centimeters in length and weigh up to three pounds. It has a very long head and a brightly colored yellow chin and throat. Their heads, tails, and limbs are bluish-black. Blanding's Turtles' plastrons are yellowish with patches of black or brown. The high domed carapace is smooth and almost helmet-shaped, colored a deep black with scattered yellow spots here and there. Males are generally larger than females and they have longer tails and more concave plastrons.
The mating season of the Blanding's Turtle usually begins in early spring. Sexual maturity is reached at about 15 years of age, with males usually maturing earlier than females. After mating, the female will lay anywhere from as few as 3 to as many as 17 eggs. The incubation period lasts between 65 and 90 days.
The Blanding's Turtle is easily identified by its bright yellow chin.
The Blanding's Turtle is often referred to as the "semi-box turtle", because, like box turtles, it has a hinged plastron; however, it can only close the anterior part of its carapace. The Blanding's Turtle is most active during the daytime. At night Blanding's Turtles will sleep among lake or bog plants that keep it shrouded from visitors. Many Blanding's Turtles are still active in the early winter. As winter progresses and temperatures drop they do hibernate to avoid freezing. It has been reported that Hibernation usually occurs underwater in the mud or near the entrance to a muskrat's hovel. If you attempt to pick up a Blanding's Turtle do not be surprised if you hear a sharp hiss. This is common among this species of turtle. The Blanding's turtle is often hard to observe in the wild because they quickly move to escape detection. The Blanding's Turtle is considered relatively non-aggressive and is rarely known to bite. While the Blanding's Turtle is largely aquatic, it also has terrestrial tendencies, making it a semi-aquatic turtle. The terrestrial tendencies of the Blanding's Turtle can be a danger for them, as they are known to wander onto the road and get hit by cars.
Blanding's Turtle is named for Dr. William Blanding, a naturalist who discovered the species. Its genus name is "Emydoidea", which is derived from the Greek word "Emydos", which means "freshwater turtle" and "oides" means "likeness to", in this case a likeness to the "Emys" genus. Blanding's Turtles live mostly in northern regions, because while it can tolerate colder temperatures, it does not handle warm temperatures well. It lives in Nebraska all the way to Nova Scotia, although its existence past Ohio is scattered because of the temperature changes. Though this turtle is not currently listed as endangered, it is being considered and is a near threatened species. Habitat loss, nest predation, automobiles, low nesting frequency, and draining of wetlands have all contributed to a decline in the Blanding's Turtle populations.
Terrestrial feeding preferences include grasses, berries, and other vegetation, slugs and earthworms. In the water this turtle feeds on fish, insects, frogs, crustaceans, and snails. Crayfish seem to be one of their favorite foods.