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Blanding's Turtle

Overview

The Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) is named for William Blanding, the early Philadelphia naturalist who first described it.

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Description

The most distinctive field mark is the bright yellow throat and chin, which can easily be seen from a distance. Like the box turtle, the Blanding's has a hinged plastron, but it is not as functional as the box turtle's, because the front lobe of the plastron cannot be closed tightly.

Reproduction

The reproductive biology of turtles is fascinating. With the exception of softshell turtles, the sex of all species of Ohio turtles is dependent on the temperature at which the eggs develop. In the wild, warmer eggs at the top of a nest may all hatch out as females, while cooler eggs at the bottom hatch out as males. New hatchlings must often travel a considerable distance to reach a suitable aquatic habitat.

Incubation period for Blanding's turtle is 50-75 days, and peak breeding activity occurs from April to November. There are typically 6-21 eggs in a clutch, and the young leave their nest just 28-35 days after hatching,

Habitat & Behavior

Ohio's Blanding's turtles are limited primarily to the northern counties along Lake Erie, where they inhabit the marshy shorelines, inland streams, and wet meadows. Although essentially aquatic, the Blanding's turtle often wanders about on land, but seldom strays far from water. Unlike other species of pond turtles, this large but very timid turtle has no difficulty in swallowing food out of water. Typical foods include insects, leeches, snails, small fish, frogs, and some plants on occasion.