As spring warms the water, a turtle, covered by leaves and mud at the bottom of a wetland where she hibernated for the winter, awakens. Emerging from the water, she basks on shore. The sun illuminates her bright yellow throat and her high, domed shell, or carapace, dark and shiny with light flecks.
The underside of her shell, or plastron, is yellow with black patches around the edges. The plastron is hinged, so the turtle can retreat inside and partially close her shell. At 7 to 9 inches long, she is much larger than the familiar painted turtle. This is a Blanding’s turtle, named for the early Pennsylvania physician and naturalist, William Blanding, who first described the species in the early 1800s. [Read more…] about The Endangered Blanding’s Turtle: A Primer