Blanding’s Turtle

Blanding's Turtle

Emydoidea blandingii

Status:

  • COSEWIC – Threatened.
  • COSSARO – Threatened.

Description:

  • Medium turtle, adult body length of 15 to 27 cm. (6 to 10 in.).
  • Black, smooth, high domed “helmet like” carapace speckled with yellowish flecks.
  • Bright yellow throat and chin.
  • A hinge is present on their plastron (lower portion of shell), which allows the turtle to close the openings where its head and legs fit into its shell. This offers greater protection from predators with narrow snouts.

Habitat:

  • Prefer weedy ponds, marshes and coves.

Food:

  • Crayfish are preferred, but their diet also includes insects, small fish and plants.

Blanding's Turtle's Plastron

Habits:

  • Hibernate under water from late October to April.

Reproduction:

  • Early to late spring is the common mating season.
  • In June, an average of 12 eggs are laid in moist, yet well-drained sandy areas. A female may travel up to 1km looking for a suitable nest site.
  • Hatching occurs late August to September. Nest temperature will determine the sex of the turtle. Temperatures of approximately 30 degrees Celsius produce females and cooler temperatures produce males.
  • Reach maturity around 15-18 years of age.
  • May live longer than 70 years in the wild.

Threats:

  • Loss of wetland habitat and road mortality are the major threats to Blanding’s Turtles. Females are especially vulnerable to being hit on the road when they are seeking egg laying sites. The loss of reproductive female turtles has serious consequences for the population and its ability to recover.
  • High predation levels of turtle eggs by animals such as raccoons and skunks. These animals are referred to as “subsidized predators” since their population has benefited from people.

Conservation Actions:

For more information in Parry Sound District, please contact:

Ecologist
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
901 Wye Valley Road
Midland, ON
L4R 4K6
705-526-9804

SAR Biologist
Parry Sound OMNR
7 Bay St.
Parry Sound
P2A 1S4
705-746-4201