Description: 5 - 8 inches. Blanding's Turtles have a dark colored upper shell (carapace) with yellow dots and stripes. The top of the head is also dark with yellow markings. The markings on the shell and top of the head may fade with age, but the lower jaw and throat will always be a solid yellow color, which makes this species easy to identify. The bottom shell (plastron) is yellowish in color, with dark smudges on the outer edges of the scales.
Similar Species: Young Blanding's Turtles may have a rough, semi-sculpted shell similar to Wood Turtles, but the yellow coloring on the underside of the neck of Wood Turtles blurs into the darker coloring on the top of the head and neck, rather than having a distinct line where the colors change as seen in Blanding's Turtles.
Comments: Most common in areas with sandy soils. Currently under review for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Please report observations.
Learn more: MNDNR - Rare Species Guide Account