Blanding's Turtle / Tortue Mouchetée
Blanding's Turtles have an elongated smooth black
carapace with irregular tan or
yellow markings. These markings may be absent or fade in some individuals. The chin and
throat are bright yellow. The
plastron is hinged and either
yellow with a large dark blotch in the corner of each
scute or almost entirely black.
Adults reach up to 28 cm carapace length.
No other Canadian species has the bright yellow chin and throat.
Northern Map Turtles have yellowing marking on the
carapace but also have yellow lines on the neck and legs and the rear of their carapace is
serrated. Spotted Turtles have distinct yellow spots
rather than irregular markings.
In Canada, Blanding's Turtles are found in southern Ontario and a few localities in western
Québec. There is a disjunct population in Nova Scotia. Blanding's Turtle is limited
mainly to the Great Lakes region of the United States as far west as Nebraska. There are
disjunct populations along the Atlantic coast as far south as New York.
Blanding's Turtles live in highly productive lakes, ponds and wetlands with clean shallow
water and mucky bottoms.
Females do not mature until at least age 14. Nesting occurs in late May to early June and
up to 22 eggs are laid in a single clutch. Nests are dug in areas of well drained sandy
loam or sand. Hatchlings emerge in the fall at 3-4 cm in length. The gender of offspring
depends on the incubation temperature of the eggs.
Blanding's Turtles are fond of basking, particularly in the spring. Crayfish are a
favourite food but insects, fish, frogs and plants are also eaten. When disturbed,
Blanding's Turtles can pull in and move the lobes of their plastron to close the shell.
The pattern on the carapace appears to imitate Duckweed, thus providing camouflage for the
turtle. Blanding's Turtles commonly live more than 25 years and possibly over 70 years.
Blanding's Turtles are vulnerable to traffic mortality and high nest predation. Blanding's
Turtle is designated Threatened in Ontario and Québec (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence
population) and Endangered in Nova Scotia by