Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Status in Canada: Threatened
Status in Ontario: Threatened
Status at SWCR: Common and Widespread
This medium-sized turtle is easily recognized by its helmet-like shell and distinctive bright yellow throat and jaw.
- It is a long-lived and slow growing turtle: it can live up to 75 years, but only reaches sexual maturity between 14 and 25 years old!
- The largest known population is right here in Norfolk County, at the Big Creek Wildlife Area, where there are as many as 400 known individuals. This makes the County extremely important to the conservation of the entire species.
- It is mostly aquatic, but has a large home range and may travel long distances over land or along waterways.
Threats at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve:
Habitat Degradation: hydrological changes and changes in water quality; as well as degradation of wetland and forest habitat from pollution, invasive plants, and human disturbance.
Recreational Activities and Persecution: Trail use and other recreational activities can result in habitat degradation, increased poaching, and collisions with vehicles.
Activities that can damage Blanding’s turtle and its critical habitat include:
- Activities that can introduce or encourage the growth of invasive plants, such as dumping of garden waste and off-trail ATV use.
- Activities that change the water regime and reduce water quality in both wetlands and woodlands.
- Activities that interfere with understory shrubs, unauthorized plant collecting and off-trail ATV use.
- Off-trail recreational activities that can harm turtles or damage nests such as trampling, crushing under vehicles, and collecting.
St. Williams Conservation Reserve management practices:
- Population monitoring
- Invasive plant control
- Enforcement of unauthorized trail use
What you can do to help:
- Follow the code of conduct for recreational activities in the Conservation Reserve and know and respect the current trail-use regulations.
- Clean your boots, bicycle tires, or ATV before and after visiting the SWCR or other natural areas to avoid spreading invasive plant seeds.
- Report sightings to the SWCR CC, or the Natural Heritage Information Centre.
- Report unauthorized trail use or any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).