Blanding's turtle in exhibit

Blanding’s Turtle

Scientific Name
Emydoidea blandingii
Geographic Range
Southern Canada and northern United States
Crayfish and crustaceans (also other invertebrates, fish, frogs, and aquatic vegetation)
Blanging's turtle Endangered Status Graph - Endangered Endangered Status Graph - Endangered

More Information

Blanding’s turtles are medium-sized turtles with a bright yellow throat and neck and tan- or yellow-spotted shells. Males can have a shell length of about 11 inches and females are slightly smaller. They prefer wetland habitats with shallow standing water but can be found in almost any body of water in their range.

They nest away from water, often in open grasslands. Females have complete control during the mating process and initiate breeding by the position of the tail. Only half the females in a population reproduce in any given year, laying two clutches of up to 15 eggs. Juveniles hatch after about three months of incubation and reach maturity at about 14 years old.

Did You Know?

  • Blanding’s turtles have hinges on their lower shells, allowing them to pull themselves inside for extra protection from predators.
  • These reptiles burrow beneath the ground in winter and enter a state of lower metabolic activity until spring.
  • Blanding’s turtles are threatened in Illinois. Lincoln Park Zoo has partnered with other conservation organizations to assist with “head-start” programs that raise hatchlings in human care before they are released into the wild. These programs have helped restore populations in the Chicago area.


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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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