Blanding’s Turtle

Scientific name: Emydoidea blandingii
Mi’kmaq name:


The Blanding’s turtle has a high-domed, helmet shaped and sized shell that is dark grey (dry) to black with yellowish flecks (wet). It has a long neck and bright yellow chin and throat, and toonie-sized. Full-grown adults are about 20-25 cm in length.


Found in freshwater wetlands (still-water streams, marshes, swamps, bogs, and coves). Occurs in dark, slow-moving waters, with muddy bottoms and dense aquatic vegetation, including sedge, sphagnum, sweetgale, cow-lily, and pickerel weed. They need exposed, gravelly or sandy areas to nesting in June, and permanent wet areas for overwintering.

Blanding’s Turtles are found basking in the sun around wetlands in early April and May; along roadsides in June and July (when females are up laying eggs) and August and September (when travelling to overwintering sites); swimming in freshwater wetlands throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Interesting Points

  • Hatchlings can walk over 100 cm per day and may be able to survive freezing.
  • Juveniles do not mature until their mid 20s, and individuals are believed to live longer than 80 years.
  • They absorb oxygen through their skin in winter, and can survive over three months underwater.
  • Females often return to nest in the same place each year.


  • Habitat loss and degradation threatens all life stages.
  • Predators (racoons, small mammals, birds) eat eggs, hatchlings and young juveniles.
  • Road mortality (being run over vehicles).
  • Collection for the pet trade.

Courtesy of Species at Risk in Nova Scotia: Identification & Information Guide


If you would like to provide additional information on this species, please email Justine Maloney at or fill out our feedback form by clicking here.