Blanding's Turtle

[Emydoidea blandingii]

The carapace (upper shell) of blanding's turtle is elongated and neither keeled nor serrated. It is predominantly a dull charcoal color, varying from black speckled with yellow to black with yellow markings. The plastron (under shell) is yellow and hinged. It is connected to the carapace by ligaments. The flattened head is moderate in size with a non-protruding snout, a notched upper jaw, and protruding eyes. The neck is very long, and the feet are webbed. Males have dark pigmentation on the upper jaw, and females have yellow upper jaws. Females also have longer plastra and higher carapaces then males. The throat and lower jaw are yellow. This turtle grows to a maximum length of 9½ inches.

Location: Off Exhibit



The range of blanding's turtle includes provinces and states bordering the Great Lakes.


The habitat of blanding's turtle includes lakes, ponds, marshes, creeks, wet prairies and sloughs.


Incubation: 50 to 80 days, depending on temperature


Clutch: 3 to 27 eggs


Blanding's turtle begins hibernation in the fall when the water temperature falls to about 6 to 13 degrees Celsius. It hibernates in mud or trash either in or near the water. It emerges from hibernation in very early spring. This is a timid turtle, hiding in the water or closing into its shell when on land. It is most active in the morning, either feeding or basking. During the night it sleeps in underwater vegetation. It also likes to wander overland.


Mating of blanding's turtles takes place from March to October (any time it is not hibernating). Males and females both do not become sexually mature until in their teens, but from that point on are sexually active until they die. The female will usually lay one clutch of eggs per year in a soft ground-based nest. The sex of egg embryos is temperature dependent. Males are produced at incubation temperatures of 23 to 26 degrees Celsius, while females are produced at 30 to 31 degrees Celsius. In the middle of the range both sexes are created.

Wild Diet

Omnivorous, but mainly crustaceans and insects

Zoo Diet




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