Named after American naturalist Dr. William Blanding who first described them, Blanding’s turtles are medium-sized, semi-terrestrial turtles that inhabit wetlands across much of the Midwest. They have a highly-domed, dark carapace (upper shell); a bright-yellow neck and chin; and a distinctive smile.
WHY DO THEY NEED PROTECTING?
Blanding’s turtles are a threatened species of greatest conservation need in Iowa, and they are listed as endangered in Illinois. Vehicle-collision mortalities and habitat loss devastate populations because this species takes 18 years on average to sexually mature and reproduce. That's why Nahant Marsh has decided to take action—And you can too! Scroll down to find out how.
Nahant Marsh has been monitoring a small, local population of Blanding’s turtles since 2010. Recently, we have been tracking their movement patterns using radio telemetry, an ecological research technique whereby animals can be monitored remotely to study their behavior. Using this technique, we can learn about the species’ home range and their preferred nesting sites, which helps us to better protect these sensitive locations. Last summer (2020), we captured a gravid female using telemetry, and we successfully incubated her eggs and hatched several Blanding’s turtles. The juveniles are being cared for in our education center during their first year during which they are most sensitive to predation. We feed them a balanced diet of live macroinvertebrates and aquatic turtle food enriched with vitamins and minerals. We also limit their exposure to humans during this short period of captivity to prevent habituation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
During the month of February, 100% of our online store proceeds go towards Blanding’s Turtle Care & Research at Nahant Marsh. Get a limited-time only #SavetheBlandings sticker & t-shirt (we have youth sizes too!) to help spread the message! Are you #TurtleyinLove? ♥