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Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)

Blanding's TurtleNH Conservation Status: State Endangered, Wildlife Action Plan Species in Greatest Need of Conservation. Legally protected in New Hampshire: possession, sale, import, and take (harm, harass, injuring, killing) is illegal.

 

State Rank Status: Critically imperiled (S1)

 

Distribution: Restricted to Southeastern NH

 

Description: A 7- to 9-inch turtle with yellow speckles that often run together to form streaks on the carapace. Easily identified when basking from its characteristic yellow throat and chin.

 

Commonly Confused Species: Spotted turtle; Box turtle

 

Habitat: Wetland habitats with permanent shallow water and emergent vegetation such as marshes, swamps, bogs, and ponds. Use vernal pools extensively in spring and while traveling through the landscape. May use slow rivers and streams as mechanisms for dispersal between wetlands. Extensive use of terrestrial habitats for nesting and travel among wetlands.

 

Life History: Eight to 10 eggs are deposited in sandy, loamy soils in upland areas in June. Nesting sites include disturbed soils, pastures, powerline corridors, roadsides, and yards. Hibernate in shrub swamps, ponds, and vernal pools. Blanding’s turtles use a variety of wetland and terrestrial habitats and may travel extensively among them. Therefore, a key conservation strategy for the long-term survival of Blanding’s turtles is the conservation of large undeveloped areas in southern New Hampshire.

 

Conservation Threats: Road mortality, Loss and/or alteration of wetland and terrestrial habitats, fragmentation, loss of nesting habitat, and increased abundance of subsidized predators.

 

Resources:

 

Blanding’s turtle

Blanding’s turtles have a highly domed shell with small yellow flecks on the surface of the shell. Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

Blanding’s turtles can be difficult to detect when in wetland habitats (roll your pointer over the image).
Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

Turtles generally nest in sandy soils that are exposed to direct sunlight (limited trees).
Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

Box turtle (top) and Blanding’s turtle (bottom) size comparison. Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

Blanding’s turtles hibernate in a variety of wetland habitats including this vernal pool.
Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

Blanding’s turtles make extensive movements across land in search of suitable nesting areas, as well as traveling among wetlands. During these travels, turtles are extremely vulnerable to mortality on roadways. Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

The yellow chin is a distinguishing feature of the Blanding’s turtle. Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

This marsh is surrounded by forest and could be suitable habitat for Blanding’s turtles.
Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

Plastron (lower shell) of a Blanding’s turtle.
Photo by Mike Marchand.

Blanding’s turtle

Blanding’s turtle basking on a log with 2 painted turtles. Notice the difference in size between the species. ©Debbie Stahre Photo