Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blanding's turtle!

While I was driving home from work today at 55 mph, a turtle caught my eye. Turtles laying eggs by the side of the road are fairly common this time of year, but this one was DIFFERENT. It was the size of a small snapping turtle, maybe twelve inches long, but the shell was too round and helmet-like for a snapper, and it was too big to be a painted turtle. I eased to a stop (appointment for new brake pads is in place, don't want to overuse them at this point), turned around, and parked nearby. I took the above photo with my handy iPhone.

The Blanding's turtle is considered a threatened species here in Minnesota, and this was the first one I had ever seen. They live in wetlands, especially adjacent to running water, and nest in sparsely vegetated upland areas. Unfortunately, they seem to like roadsides for nesting. I'm guessing this one came from Bear Creek, which could mean she would cross the road when she is finished laying eggs. It is not a busy road, but I'm praying for her!

These eggs will probably hatch in August or September, and the young turtles will have a long journey to find a suitable wetland or Bear Creek to spend the winter. I marked the location on my phone, and I will be thinking about the mama turtle and her eggs every time I drive by.


Pablo said...

Nice find. I'm sure I have all kinds of surprises in my woods too. Would you care to come down and give me a tour, open my eyes?

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Deb, that is so neat! I'm glad you found her. Do you think Hasty is too heavily wooded for a Blanding's Turtle? Now I'm going to be looking carefullynat every turtle I see along the roads these days.

Two weeks ago I scooted a huge mama snapper from the middle of highway 73. In was happy to have a rake in the trunk.

webb said...

She looks like a WWI soldier's helmet! So glad you got a good look. Let's hope for the babies.

Jayne said...

How cool Deb! Sam and I have saved probably six or so box turtles in the road in the past weeks.

Casey said...

That is a cool find to be sure. I have never seen a Blanding's. Right now, here in NE Iowa, I'm finding turtle nests that have already hatched out. Congrats on the pic and thanks for sharing!

Floridacracker said...

What a beauty.
Nice find and good luck to those eggs.
Check back there in two months.
... or do turtle eggs take longer in chilly MN?

Rabbi Gershom said...

Wow, that is really neat! I've never seen a Blandings either. But I have rescued a LOT of Painted turtles crossing roads.