The Blanding’s Turtle can be found within the Mississippi River watershed. A few Blanding’s Turtles can be found in our Backwater Marsh exhibit. This turtle is often bycatch in the commercial trapping of snapping turtles, reinforcing the importance of responsible fishing practices.

Fast Facts

  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Life Span: possibly 70 to 80 years
  • Size: Averages 15-25 cm (5.9-9.8 inches) in length
  • Weight: Averages 1.75 to 3 lbs.
  • Group Name: bale, dole, turn, or nest
  • Conservation Status: Endangered (IUCN, 2011)


  • Has a domed carapace with yellow flecks 
  • Has a bright yellow throat 
  • Considered a “semi-box” turtle due to its hinged plastron 


  • Small invertebrates (snails, insects, crayfish)
  • Aquatic vegetation
  • Small fish
  • Berries
  • Frogs

Main Predators

  • Hawks
  • Snakes
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Foxes


  • Breeding season = May
  • Females nest on land far from the water in grasslands and agricultural fields.
  • Clutches = 6-21 eggs, 1 time a year
  • Incubation = 50 to 75 days before hatching
  • Young will leave the nest in mid-August to early October
  • Mortality rate for eggs and juveniles is measured at 93%
  • The distance between the water and the nest can be more than 0.5 miles
  • They reach maturity in their mid-teens.


  • Diurnal 
  • The Blanding's is a shy turtle. When startled, it can plunge into water and remain on the bottom for hours. If away from water, the turtle will close itself up within its shell.  
  • It is very agile and a good swimmer. 

Conservation Status

  • Classified as an endangered species by the IUCN Redlist. 
  • Their numbers are slowly declining due to multiple factors including habitat loss, direct removal, accidental mortality, and increased predation 
  • They have low reproductive success, which leads to a slower recovery rate. 
  • This species is currently under review for being added to the federal endangered species list. 

Did You Know? 

  • During incubation, cooler temperatures produce male hatchlings, while warmer temperatures produce female hatchlings
  • Male and female turtles are similar in size, but males have a more concave plastron while females have a flatter plastron and a narrower tail
  • They are considered “semi-box” turtles. Their hinge on their plastron is able to begin moving at two years old and is able to fully close at five years old
  • They feed primarily underwater and will swallow their food whole. If it is too large to swallow, they will use their claws to tear up the food first