Also known as Ontario’s smiling turtle, the Blandings turtle is a semi-aquatic species that inhabits ponds, marshes and other wetland habitats, shore lines of lakes, streams and rivers. Blanding’s turtles spend time on land usually while migrating from one seasonal habitat to another. Home ranges can be large and include several habitat types.
The Blanding’s Turtle is a medium sized turtle with an oval shaped, domed shell that is usually dark brown to black with a light speckling of spots in an irregular and variable pattern. The head is smallish and black on top. The neck is quite long and the throat is bright yellow and makes for an excellent identification marker in the wild.
The Blanding’s Turtle is in decline in Ontario. There are still strong populations that exist in the province but many populations are small and disconnected. Habitat loss and development as well as nest predation by animals such as raccoons and skunks, and road death are most likely the main reasons for the decline of this species. Blanding’s Turtles are protected from collection and ownership in Ontario under the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act. Listed as threatened, the species and its habitat are also protected under the Endangered Species Act.
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