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Blanding's Turtle

   Photo: Mary Ferguson/© ROM

Features: The Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)is easily identified by its characteristic bright yellow throat and jaw. It has a smooth, domed shell that has been said to resemble a military helmet. This medium-sized turtle inhabits a network of lakes, streams, and wetlands, preferring shallow wetland areas with abundant vegetation. It can also spend significant portions of time in upland areas moving between wetlands. In a single season this highly mobile turtle has been known to travel up to seven km in search of food or a mate.

Status: Threatened Provincially and Nationally

Range: The core of the Blanding’s Turtle range occurs in the southern Great Lakes region from Nebraska in the west, Illinois in the south, and Ontario in the east. Additional isolated populations can be found in Quebec, Nova Scotia and near the east coast of the United States. In Ontario it can be found throughout the southern and central portions of the province except along the Bruce Peninsula and the far southeast.

Threats: Nesting success of the Blanding’s Turtle is greatly reduced as a result of predation by raccoons and skunks, parasitism from sarcophagid fly larvae, and cool summer temperatures that result in fewer hatchlings. Other threats to this species include road mortality, habitat destruction and collection for the pet trade. As it can take 25 years for these turtles to reach reproductive maturity, the removal of even a few adults from the population can have significant impacts.

Protection: Under Ontario's Endangered Species Act 2007, the Blanding's Turtle is protected from any actions that may cause further harm to the species. It is also protected under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act provides protection to significant habitat of threatened species. Several populations of this species occur within provincial or national parks. A recovery strategy for all Ontario turtle species at risk is currently being developed.

Text Sources: COSEWIC 2005

Last Modified Date: October 2008

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