Species Spotlight: Blanding’s Turtle

Sarah Kirkpatrick-Wahl is the Species At Risk Intern at Nature Canada. Sarah is starting a new blog series , where every week she will be 

Get to know some of the species at risk in the Lac Deschênes IBA with the “Species Spotlight”, aka “Sp-Spot”. Today meet the: Blanding’s Turtle.

 

Photo by Beatrice Laporte

Scientific Name: Emydoidea blandingii
Federal SARA Status: Threatened; Ontario: Threatened; Quebec: Threatened
Taxonomic Group: Reptiles
Size: Shell size up to 27 cm in length

The Blanding’s Turtle is easily recognisable with its bright yellow lower jaw, throat and plastron (lower shell). It is a medium sized turtle with a uniquely domed shell. Blanding’s Turtles are usually found in shallow freshwater such as large wetlands and shallow lakes, but sometimes travel across dry land in search of mates or nesting sites.

Where else can you see this species?
Blanding’s Turtles in Canada are found mostly in Ontario, however there are also a few isolated populations in Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Did You Know?
• The hinge at the front of the plastron allows some Blanding’s Turtles to completely close their shell after retracting their head and feet.
• The Blanding’s Turtle is an exceptionally long-lived species and can survive in the wild for over 75 years.
• Due to their distinctive marking and non-aggressive temperament, collection of wild Blanding’s Turtles for sale in the pet trade is a growing threat. Removal of even a single adult from the population can have a significant effect on the population since a female can take up to 25 years to mature, and she will only lay clutches of 3 to 19 eggs every few years.

 Check back every week to read about a different species at risk that can be found in Lac Deschênes.

You can report sightings of this and other rare species on the MNR Natural Heritage Information Centre website. A photo and a location are very helpful!

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