- Medium-sized turtle with a bright yellow throat, chin and undershell; upper shell black to brown with yellow flecks and streaks, smooth and more dome-shaped than other Ontario turtles; head and limbs black-grey
- Can reach up to 27cm in length
- Inhabits shallow, clean water of large wetlands and shallow lakes with muddy bottoms and abundant vegetation
- Will travel hundreds of meters from water to find a mate or to nest
- Hibernates late October to late April in mud at bottom of permanent water bodies
Threatened Provincially and Nationally
Core range is southern Great Lakes from Nebraska to Ontario and south to Illinois. Isolated populations can also be found in Quebec, Nova Scotia and near the U.S. east coast.
Within the province, Blanding’s occurs throughout southern and central portions of Ontario, except along the Bruce Peninsula and the far southeast.
Blanding’s turtles naturally take between 14 and 25 years to reach reproductive maturity; therefore slightly increased loss rates can have significant impacts to a population. Impacts include collection for the pet trade, road mortality and habitat destruction which is greatly increasing with progressive development. Blanding’s turtles are also under pressure of reduced nesting success as a result of predation from skunks, raccoons and foxes, from parasitism of sarcophagid fly larvae, and from decreased hatching success as a result of cool summer temperatures. Although it is generally unquantified, predator populations are expected to be unnaturally subsidized by easily available resources near human settlements, and are therefore having increased and significant impacts within the food chain (IUCN).
The Blanding’s turtle and its habitat are protected under the following legislation:
- Ontario Endangered Species Act: listed as Threatened
- Species at Risk Act: listed as Threatened
- Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act: listed as Specially Protected Reptile
- Planning Act – Provincial Policy Statement protects Blanding’s Turtle habitat from development and alteration