Nature Detective: Blanding's Turtle

Did you know the Blanding turtle is named for a 19th century naturalist William Blanding of Pennsylvania? 
Di you know the Blanding Turtle can live up to 80 years! 

Blanding's Turtle is medium in size! 
It has an average shell length of about  7 - 9"  usually not reaching any larger than 10"  

Distinguishing feature? 
A bright yellow chin and throat. 

What is the upper shell called? 
The carapace, which is domed but slightly flat along the midline but looks oblong when viewed from above. The upper shell (Carapace) is flecked with  numerous yellow  specks 

What is the lower shell called
The plastron is yellow with dark blotches symmetrically arranged. The head and legs are dark, and usually speckled or mottled with yellow. 

Is it a box turtle? 
No, Blanding's turtle is called a semi-box" turtle because the plastral lobes do not shut tightly like a box turtle, but the plastron are hinged.


Yes, the Blanding's turtle overwinters under or near water, in mud. 
Nesting season?
This mid-sized turtle is known to move almost a mile from where it hibernated. 
It is omnivorous and eats crustaceans, fish, frogs, carrion, berries and vegetable debris. It is even capable of catching live fish. 
Yes, If it hears you it may plunge to the bottom of the pond and remain there for hours. Don't worry. It is a very good swimmer.

Habitat Destruction:
In New York State housing developments and shoreline property are destroying the Blanding turtle habitat. Keep in mind that they can nest up to a mile away from where they hibernate. Drivers and other predators along the roads which cross Blanding turtle migration routes hazardous to the species.

Saratoga Springs PLAN Coldbrook Preserve is playing an important role in the preservation of Blanding's turtles and its habitat. 

 © Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.


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