Sciensational Sssnakes!!

Conservation Through Education

Friday, May 27, 2005

Turtle nesting season!

It looks like turtle nesting season is upon us here in central Ontario. This week, while on the way to a program, we moved a large female Blanding's turtle off of the road west of Coldwater. It was a pretty cool sighting since they are not very numerous on the south side of Severn Sound. Of course, we reported it to the Georgian Bay Reptile Awareness Program ( which tracks sightings of rare reptiles within the watershed. This turtle appeared to be returning to a nearby pond, and no eggs could be felt within her so it is possible that she had just finished nesting. This seems a little early, but we have had a fair bit of hot sunny weather to speed up the egg development.

Anyhow, the important thing is to keep an eye out for turtles on the road over the next month, as nesting females will be wandering in search of a good place to lay their eggs. If we want to have turtles around in the future, it is critical that we do not kill these reproducing females (or take them home, but that's a subject for a future entry). Turtles have evolved a life history where the babies are very likely to get eaten, but the few that do survive live for many decades. Each female has to lay eggs for 30 years or more just to keep the population stable! Highways and cars have reversed the situation- now adult females are at great risk if there is a roadway nearby, and there aren't many places in southern Ontario without roads! So drive carefully, and if you see a turtle, please try to move it off of the road (in the same direction it was going, don't take it to a nearby pond) if you can safely do so. If you find one that has been hit and is still alive with a cracked shell, it is possible that it could be saved. The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre ( has been making great strides in turtle rehabilitation. They are in Peterborough, and I would highly recommend that injured turtles be taken there!

Posted by Jeff Hathaway at 9:16 PM | Comments (2)  


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