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Blanding's Turtle




Don't let the name fool you: I am anything but bland. I’m a smooth operator, known as 'the beautiful one' among my slow-moving friends. My bright yellow chin and throat leave all eyes on me, a true walking piece of art. And don’t be fooled by my slow and steady gait; I am an agile and strong swimmer, allowing me to catch quick moving fish. Sushi anyone? I also enjoy crayfish, snails, frogs, insects and the occasional vegetable.

I am at risk throughout the Midwest due to loss of my natural habitat. Please help me find a place to showcase my beauty.

The Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) is regionally imperiled and spends a lot of its time in water, but is known to travel long distances over land. It matures slowly, not until age 14 to 20, and can live more than 80 years. 

These turtles, considered semi-aquatic, depend on wetlands, grasslands and sunny wooded areas for survival. Habitat loss contributes to this species' decline, but Blanding's turtles are endangered in Illinois mostly due to low survival rates resulting from predation, poaching and road mortalities.



  • Females often have to travel up to two miles to find appropriate nesting grounds.

  • Blanding’s turtles overwinter in muddy bottoms of deep wetlands, backwater pools, ponds and streams.

  • The shells of Blanding's turtles typically are 7-9 inches long.



Volunteer at nearby wetlands restoration areas. 

Conservation organizations are always seeking volunteers to assist with their restoration programs and the community education efforts, as well as participants for group service projects. Supporting efforts to preserve the Blanding's turtle population will help to development conservation strategies for wildlife across the country, and will assist experts in acquiring the necessary tools for aiding our turtle friends.



Chicago Wilderness works with two lead partners, Illinois Natural History Survey, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, to drive Blanding's turtle conservation efforts. The lead partners, in turn, coordinate with numerous other organizations across the region. The Blanding's turtle conservation effort is part of the Chicago Wilderness Priority Species Focus Area.


Sources: Lake County Forest Preserves