Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
These semi-aquatic turtles are found throughout the biosphere in shallow lakes, ponds and wetlands. During the winter they will hibernate in the muddy bottoms of these bodies of water. When spring comes, they are often seen basking on rocks and logs to soak up the warm spring sun. But they do not remain in the area long. Blanding’s Turtles are known to travel several kilometers between summer nesting sites and overwintering habitats. They are easy to recognize with their mottled dark green domed shells and distinctive yellow smiling chin. Unlike most aquatic turtles that eat exclusively in the water, the Blanding’s Turtle is omnivorous and can be found hunting frogs, crayfish, insects and fish or munching on a variety of vegetation. Habitat destruction is the primary reason these turtles are in decline. But other reasons, like car strikes and Blanding’s are long lived turtles. They can survive in the wild for more than 75 years. Females don’t reach maturity and start laying eggs until they are 14-20 years of age, adding to the reasons why conservation is so important. What can you do to help Blanding’s Turtles? Keep our water ways clean, they need clean, clear water; watch for turtles on the road and, if it’s safe, help them to the other side; if you find an injured turtle, call a rescue group who can rehabilitate and rerelease the turtle. With everyone’s help these smiling little turtles will continue to grace our waterways.