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WitteMarked turtle celebrates 40 years of living in the Sandills

Olivia DaRugna took photos of a Blanding’s turtle she found crossing the Little Hay Wildlife Drive at Valentine NWR on June 14, 2018. Olivia noticed that the turtle had holes drilled into the marginal scutes (scutes are the “plates” that comprise the turtles upper shell [carapace]) at the edge of the plastron (shell across the underside of the turtle).

Turtle researcher Dr. Jeff Lang used these to mark individual turtles during his study in 2002-2003. These markings do not harm the turtle in any way, and allow researchers to identify turtles if they are encountered at a later date.


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