This rare turtle has a dark and shiny shell like that of a painted turtle, but with a high dome and faint spotting pattern on the dorsal (top) side and primarily yellow and black on the ventral (bottom) side with a hinged plastron, allowing the shell to close near the head and front legs. The skin is also a very dark green, though the lower jaw is bright yellow. Young turtles have rings on their shell scales that can be counted to calculate age, and adult turtles can reach lengths up to 25 cm.
The Blandings Turtle has a pleasant demeanor, and has not been known to bite people. This turtle, though primarily aquatic, is often seen on land feeding on low growing berries or making long migrations during breeding season. Unlike its more aquatic cousins, this turtle can swallow food on land.
The Blandings Turtle is currently listed as a threatened species in Minnesota. If you see this turtle on or near university grounds, please contact Saint John's Arboretum or the CSB/SJU biology department.