Blanding’s Turtle

Scientific Name: Emydoidea blandingii
Size: 6-11 inches (15-28 cm) in length
Status: Candidate Species
PAHERP Resource: Have you seen me? Blanding’s Turtle

Poorly drained lowlands, marshes, wet meadows, ponds, and slow-moving streams.

Medium-sized semi-aquatic /aquatic species. The upper shell is black often with a blue sheen and may have random small yellow markings. The underside is yellow with black blotches. The legs are gray to black, often with a blueish coloration and can have yellow to orange speckling. The underside of the neck is bright yellow. The shell is smooth on top and on the edges.

Adult Coloration:
  • The carapace background color is dull black to blue-black and covered with many small irregular yellow to tan spots or slightly radiating lines. Some individuals are patternless.
  • The plastron background color is yellow with large black blotches that originate on the posterior lateral surface of each major scute.
  • The legs and tail are blue-grey to blue-black with an occasional yellow pigment on the scales.
  • The head is blue-black on the top and sides and may have brownish streaks.
  • The chin and throat are bright yellow.
  • The jaw may be marked with dark bars.
Adult Characteristics:
  • Medium-sized semiaquatic/aquatic species.
  • Side View – The carapace is low in profile and lacks a keel.
  • Above View – The carapace is oblong and has smooth margins.
  • The carapace surface is smooth.
  • The plastron is large and attached by ligaments; not a bony bridge.
  • The legs are well-developed and the feet are webbed.
  • The head is large and flat on top, and the neck is long.
  • The tail is short.
Juvenile Characteristics:
  • Side View – The carapace is very low in profile.
  • Above View – The carapace is almost circular.
  • The carapace is black and lacks spots.
  • The head has yellow dashes and short lines on either side.
  • The plastron is yellow along the border with a larger dark central blotch.
  • The tail is long and slende

May be Confused With:
  • Hulse, C. and McCoy C. J. and Ellen Censky ,1998. Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. 222-225pp.
  • Ernst, Carl H. and Lovich, Jeffrey E., and Barbour, Roger W. ,1994. Turtles of the United States and Canada. 240-249pp.
  • Tom Diez
  • Jeff Hankey
  • Don Becker (

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