Blanding’s turtles have protruding eyes and a very domed, smooth black carapace (upper shell) with small, irregular tan or yellow flecking. The most distinctive characteristic of this species is the bright yellow chin and throat. The hinged plastron (lower shell) is yellow with a large dark blotch in the corner of each scute (enlarged scale on the shell), but may be almost entirely black. In adults, the carapace is up to 28cm in length.
Female do not mature until at least age 14, and individuals can live to be over 75 years old. In late May or early June, the female excavates a nest in a sunny area with good drainage and lays up to 22 oval, dull white, hard-shelled eggs.