Credit: Paul Irish



Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Semi-Box Turtle



I. Physical Characteristics

a. Size

i. Medium range
ii. Shell length - 7 to 9 inches
iii. Very long necks
iv. Domed, oblong shell that's flattened along midline
v. Males are larger than females

b. Markings

i. Adults

1. Yellow chin and throat
2. Blue-black limbs
3. Shell

a. Carapace (upper shell)

i. Dark background
ii. Dotted or streaked with yellow-gray 

b. Plastron (under shell)

i. Yellow background
ii. Dark blotches regularly arranged

ii. Hatchlings
1. Dark gray to green in color
2. Protective as to blend in with surroundings

II. Habitat and Lifestyle

a. Semi-aquatic
b. Grassy marshes with shallow water
c. Access to plenty of sun
d. Hibernation

i. Underwater
ii. Near water

e. Live up to 75 years

III. Reproduction

a. Sexually mature between 15 and 20 years
b. Breeding usually in early spring
c. Mating frequently takes place in the water
d. Females

i. Nest and lay eggs on land
ii. Frequently lay eggs in afternoon/early evening
iii. "Thermoregulation" - sun themselves to speed development of eggs prior to laying them
iv. Travel up to 1½ miles to nest and return to same site annually
v. Average of 8 eggs, but ranges 5-12
vi. Return to water after laying eggs

e. Hatching

i. After 65 - 90 days
ii. Frequently in fall - September or October

IV. Food

a. Omnivores
b. Have the unique ability to swallow food both in and out of water
c. When in water:

i. Crustaceans
ii. Snails
iii. Insects
iv. Frogs
v. Fishes
vi. Crayfish - a favorite when available

d. When on land:

i. Earthworms
ii. Slugs
iii. Grasses
iv. Berries
v. Various vegetation

V. Decline

a. Human intervention
i. Habitat loss - development
ii. Pollution
iii. Migration path danger - construction of roads traveling to and from nest

b. Nature

i. Predators - eat eggs from unattended nests

1. Crows
2. Skunks
3. Raccoons - most destructive

ii. Habitat loss

1. Natural succession - change in habitat over time
2. Wetlands gradually fill in and trees grow, etc...

VI. Preventing extinction

a. Legislation

i. New York Status - Threatened
ii. Federal Status - not listed

iii. Other places they're "Threatened" including:
1. Wisconsin
2. Massachusetts
3. Illinois
4. Canada

b. Habitat preservation by being ecologically aware
c. Field surveys - collect data to preserve species

i. Mark and recapture
ii. Radio telemetry techniques

VII. Where to find them locally

a. Dutchess County is a 'hot spot'
b. Eleanor Roosevelt NHS

i. Damming Fall-Kill Creek by the Roosevelt family in 1925 resulted in an ideal habitat

(Specific information is not generally given as to protect the species from harm, especially 'collection.')