Blanding’s turtles can live to age 60 and some make it to 80. “The older they get, the more prolific (the females) are and their eggs are of a higher quality,” Thompson said.
On turtle release day, Frushour had encountered Rachel, a veteran turtle the group was happy to see because of her success producing hatchlings for the program. “She’s like a great-great-grandma,” said Kathy Lech, a stewardship technician from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County who was helping microchip and notch the turtles.
Turtles released into the wild do fine because there is no parental care after turtle eggs hatch.
“Even if they’ve been in captivity for two years, their native instincts are pretty intact,” Thompson said.
Frushour said his work with the turtles has been very fulfilling.
“I enjoy it a lot because I feel you’re helping to reestablish a species,” he said. “You get to build a connection with the turtles. Dan allows us to name new turtles if we find them. So I just found a new turtle and I’m naming it after my mom, Rhonda. It’s pretty cool.”
The whole point of raising hatchlings, microchipping and notching the turtles, and releasing them into the wild is to give the species a boost, Frushour said.
“The more genetic diversity, the better.”
Will County’s turtle effort