17 Apr 2021

Blanding's Turtle

 by Jan Thornhill

[Editor's note: our Jan Thornhill knows turtles. Several times, she has written for Sci/Why blog about turtles. You can read her short articles at this link. Today's short note is based on her recent Facebook post.]

I helped the first Blanding's Turtle of the spring cross our road today! 

Like snapping turtles, Blanding's turtles are slow to sexually mature at about 14-25 years of age. But they can reproduce until they are at least 75 years old. [note: This age is not old for some kinds of turtle or tortoise. There are Galapagos tortoises still reproducing at over a hundred years old!]

Female Blanding's turtles do long-distance overland nesting migrations of over 10 kilometres (over 6.2 miles). They're listed as a threatened species in Ontario.


My friend Marc says this photo shows the turtle is pleased. And there I was thinking she was giving me the stink eye! But Marc insists there's a slight smile and a twinkle in the turtle's eye.


Previously, Jan wrote this note that's worth repeating:

Help a Turtle Cross a Road
Pull over to a safe spot before getting out of your car. If it's any species other than a snapping turtle, use two hands to carry it in the direction it was travelling. Turtles often urinate when picked up. Don’t let this startle you or you might drop it! NEVER pick a turtle up by its tail—you could damage its spinal cord.
Snapping turtles have long necks that can easily stretch half the length of their carapace and they can also inflict a nasty bite or gouge you with their claws, so it's best not to pick them up. Instead, try using a stick or a shovel to coax them across the road. A snapping turtle will also sometimes latch onto a stick held near its mouth, making it easy to drag it across the road.




9 Apr 2021