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Blanding’s Turtle

Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo

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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Why aren’t animals visible at all times? To promote positive animal welfare, we provide animals with choices. They can choose to spend time in areas that are out of public view.


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Scientific Name: Emydoidea blandingii

Class: Reptiles

Diet: Crayfish and crustaceans (also other invertebrates, fish, frogs, and aquatic vegetation)

Range: Southern Canada and northern United States

Endangered Status: 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.

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