Blanding’s Turtle Hatchlings Surprise Officials At Dakota County Park In Minnesota

August 30, 2018

Officials with Dakota County Park in Minnesota were greeted with a surprise; 11 hatchling Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) found in Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan. Officials said another nest in the park will soon have hatchlings of the endangered species as well.

Blanding's turtles

Photo used with permission from Dakota County Parks

Eleven hatchling Blanding’s turtles were found in Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, MN.

“We’re especially interested in these turtles,” said Tom Lewanski, Dakota County Parks’ natural resource manager. “The [Blanding’s] turtle is listed as threatened in Minnesota.”

The nest was initially near a gas pipeline reconstruction project, so officials with Lebanon Hills, who maintain a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit, moved the nest to a wetland to ensure that the nest is not in immediate danger from the project. Officials cover any Blanding’s turtle nests with chicken wire and then put rocks and stakes around the nest to discourage predation. 

Posted by Dakota County Parks - forever wild on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Officials initially knew of just one Blanding’s turtle in the Lebanon Hills until this year, when two nests were discovered this summer, according to StarTribune.com.

Officials with the parks system have attached transmitters on five turtles in Whitetail Woods Regional Park and Lebanon Hills and they have identified 11 turtles in Whitetail Woods and an additional four have been found in Lebanon Hills. This doesn’t include the hatchlings.

Breeding Blanding’s Turtles

There are 10 known Blanding’s turtle populations in Minnesota, according to Erica Hoaglund, a DNR nonage wildlife specialist, and she is exited that the new hatchlings were found because she says there is not a lot of information on the turtles when they are young. “It’s possible that we’re missing important pieces of the Blanding’s turtle … puzzle,” Hoaglund told the StarTribune.com.

The Blanding's turtle is on the CITES list of protected species. It can grow up to nine inches in length and has a life span of more than 70 years in captivity and in the wild. 


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