Blanding’s turtle

(Emydoidea blandingii)

Conservation Status
Blanding’s turtle
Photo by Mike Poeppe
  IUCN Red List

EN - Endangered

 
  NatureServe

N4 - Apparently Secure

S2 - Imperiled

 
  Minnesota

Threatened

Species in Greatest Conservation Need

 
           
 
Description
 
 

Blanding’s turtle is a long-lived, medium-sized turtle. Adult males are of 6¾ to 10¾ in length. Females are a little smaller.

The hard upper shell (carapace) is elongated, smooth, and high domed. It is black with scattered yellow flecks or dots. It does not have a longitudinal raised ridge. In some individuals the carapace appears almost entirely black. The scales (scutes) that form the carapace are flat, not sculpted.

The lower shell (plastron) is hinged between the forward (pectoral) and rear (abdominal) scutes, allowing it to completely close its shell. There is a V-shaped notch near the tail. Each scute has a large dark blotch on the outer edge, at least at the rear corner. On males the plastron is slightly concave. On females it is more flat.

The head, neck, legs, and tail are black or dark brown and are sometimes speckled with yellow. The chin, throat, and underside of the neck are bright yellow.

The head is elongated and small. The snout is short and rounded. The upper jaw is notched, giving the appearance of a permanent smile. On females the upper jaw has some yellowish, vertical striping. On males, the upper jaw is black and unmarked. The neck is short. The neck and head together are less than half as long as the plastron.

The legs are modified for swimming but are not flipper-like. The toes are webbed.

The tail is short, less than half as long as the carapace. The female has a narrower tail than the male.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Carapace length: 6¾ to 10¾

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Shallow wetlands near sandy uplands.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Behavior

 
 

The hinged plastron allows the turtle to close the front of its shell. The concave plastron on males facilitates mating.

It is the first turtle to submerge when disturbed and the last to emerge after being disturbed.

 
     
 

Lifespan

 
 

75 years or more

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Blanding’s turtles emerge from hibernation in April and bask in the sun away from the shore. Mating takes place throughout the warm season but mostly in April and May. In late May to early June, after mating, the female finds an open sandy area to nest. She digs a hole about 6¾ deep and deposits her clutch of eggs. The clutch size about 10 eggs on average but may be from 6 to 21. The eggs are elliptical and about 1½ long. Hatchlings emerge from early August to mid-October. In mid-October Blanding’s turtles begin hibernating in muddy bottoms of deep marshes.

Hatchling mortality is high. Adults can survive 75 or more years. Females reach sexual maturity in 12 or more years.

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Crayfish, insects, leeches, snails, small fish, frogs, berries, and other plant material.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 11, 14, 24, 29, 30, 76, 78.

 
  9/16/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Widespread

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Reptilia (reptiles)  
  Order Testudines (turtles and tortoises)  
  Suborder Cryptodira (hidden-necked turtles)  
  Superfamily Testudinoidea  
 

Family

Emydidae (pond and box turtles)  
 

Subfamily

Emydinae  
 

Genus

Emydoidea  
       
 

Two classification schemes for the four turtles formerly included in the genus Clemmys have been proposed. In one scheme Blanding’s turtle and three other species are included in the genus Emys. In the other scheme Blanding’s turtle is the only species in the genus Emydoidea. Both names, Emydoidea blandingii and Emys blandingii, are currently (2014) in use.

 
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Cistuda blandingii

Cistudo blandingii

Emys blandingii

Emys twentei

Testudo flava

Testudo meleagris

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Blanding’s turtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Carapace

The hard, upper (dorsal), shell-like covering (exoskeleton) of the body or at least the thorax of many arthropods and of turtles and tortoises.

 

Plastron

The hard, lower (ventral), shell-like covering (exoskeleton) of the body of turtles and tortoises.

 

Scute

A hard, external scale that forms part of the exoskeleton; as on the belly of a snake, the upper and lower shells of hard-shelled turtles, and the foot of a bird.

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Mike Poeppe

 
    Blanding’s turtle   Blanding’s turtle  
           
    Blanding’s turtle      
 

Luciearl

 
  Over several years, I have only seen this turtle 3 times. She comes up from my pond to lay her eggs in dry sandy soil. Like clockwork, it happens 6/15-6/17 between 4-7 pm. I have not witnessed little Blandings, but hoped some have survived. Please don't disturb if one is seen laying eggs.   Blanding’s turtle  
 

NASCARLYLE

 
    Blanding’s turtle      
 

Brian Blom

 
    Blanding’s turtle   Blanding’s turtle  
 

Christa Kluender

 
 

Found near my home. Left alone in same spot/direction. I think it may have been a male.

 
    Blanding’s turtle   Blanding’s turtle  
           
    Blanding’s turtle      
 

Pamela Freeman

 
 

Found in road near my home. Re-located it in direction it was going.

 

  Blanding’s turtle  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    Blanding’s turtle   Blanding’s turtle  
           
    Blanding’s turtle      

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Emydoidea blandingii (Blanding's Turtle)
Allen Chartier
  Emydoidea blandingii (Blanding's Turtle)  

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Blandings Turtle
teekay099
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 26, 2009

Blandings Turtle. Notice the high shell and the yellow chin. Found this critter in central Minnesota in May 2009

 
  The Blanding's Turtle: Ontario Wildlife Video Series
Ryan M. Bolton
 
   
 
About

Published on Dec 4, 2012

Donation Page: http://www.artofconservation.ca/RMBolton/support.htm

Educational video of the Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) and its conservation in Ontario, Canada.

Filmed, edited, and narrated by Ryan M. Bolton, MSc
The Art of Conservation

© Ryan M. Bolton
All imagery available for purchase with all proceeds donated to conservation endeavours around the world. Please contact at www.artofconservation.ca/RMBolton

Donated Music:
No Offense and Autumn Day by Kevin MacLeod
http://incompetech.com/
Used with a creative commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode

Additional stock footage donated by Paul Whippey (fox pups) and Joe Vass (crayfish).

 
  BLANDING'S TURTLE (Emydoidea blandingii)
GardenStateTortoise
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 17, 2012

Chris Leone of Garden State Tortoise presents: "BLANDING'S TURTLE"

A music video montage featuring a look at the life of one of North America's most fascinating species of fresh water turtle. To coincide with the release of REPTILES MAGAZINE'S October 2012 issue which displays a thorough article written by Chris about the Blanding's turtle, this video is a bonus for viewers already familiar with the species as well as an excellent briefing to those just finding out about them. Please spread the word and pass this video along to help educate the public on these beautiful but endangered turtles.

The song in the video is Chris Leone's own "Scream Through a Whisper" and can be found on the album "Live Like You Know What You're Leaving" by the band Wicker Hollow

 
  Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
WisCBMnetwork
 
   
 
About

Published on Mar 13, 2013

Blanding's Turtle profile:
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/EndangeredResources/Animals.asp?mode=detail&SpecCode=ARAAD04010

 
  Cool Science - Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Science North
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 14, 2010

Staff Scientist Bruce Doran talks about one of Ontario's native species-at-risk, the Blanding's turtle, with a little help from some of the animal ambassadors at Science North.

Read the entire Cool Science post: http://sciencenorth.ca/coolscience/science-post.aspx?id=402

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this reptile.

 
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  Mike Poeppe
6/5/2020

Location: Houston Co.

Blanding’s turtle  
  Luciearl
June 2019

Location: Cass County

Over several years, I have only seen this turtle 3 times. She comes up from my pond to lay her eggs in dry sandy soil. Like clockwork, it happens 6/15-6/17 between 4-7 pm. I have not witnessed little Blandings, but hoped some have survived. Please don't disturb if one is seen laying eggs.

Blanding’s turtle  
  NASCARLYLE
7/1/2018

Location: Lino Lakes

Blanding’s turtle  
  Brian Blom
8/25/2017

Location: Crow Wing County, Crosby MN

Blanding’s turtle  
  Jeff Dick
6/1/2016

Location: East Bethel

Crossing 222nd Ln NE, between Bataan St and Yancy St.  This was in a residential area.  Turtle's shell was domed shaped, dark colored, approx 9" long, with bright yellow chin/neck.  Had to pick it up and move it off the street.

 
  Christa Kluender
5/24/2016

Location: Ramsey, MN

Found near my home. Left alone in same spot/direction. I think it may have been a male.

Blanding’s turtle  
  Pamela Freeman
5/8/2014

Location: Oak Grove – Cedar Creek Dr NW, 3520, outside of Cedar Creek Conservation Area, heading across road from 3520 to Conservation Area.

That was a rainy day, and I was coming home early from work and spotted a lump in the road just past our driveway. I got out of my car and walked up to it realizing it was a turtle, and not the usual snapper or painted we get frequently. I took photos of it, not sure, but thinking it looked a lot like a blandings turtle. I picked her up and took her in the direction she was headed, safely across and away from the road. When I went out to check her out about 15 minutes later she was gone. Our land, from where she apparently was coming from, is mostly marsh, with some upland and lowland wooded areas and small area of lawn surrounding the house. We have a few open areas, a wet meadow, and swale in the woods near the road.

She, I am assuming she, as turtles in the spring head out to lay eggs, was about 6 inches long, maybe. Not large, but not small.

She was very definitely a blandings, with the yellow on her shell. I took the photos and compared them to online images and it was a match.

Cedar Creek Conservation area is a large area newly designated as a conservation area. It is comprised of Cedar Creek, adjacent flood plain and marshes and lowlands, other marshy areas, at least one fen, some upland savannah, old fields and some remnant prairie and savannah areas, and an old farmstead plot and fields near the Rum River, which the park also tracks along for a while.

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Created: 10/30/2014

Last Updated:

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