Article by CVC’s Leanne Wallis

Turtle nesting season is approaching. It is a critical time for this 200 million year old reptile. Nesting season happens between late May and early July when turtles are on high alert for breeding partners and nesting habitats. Soon you will see turtles on roadways and gravel shoulders.

The two most abundant turtle species in the Credit River watershed are the eastern snapping turtle and the midland painted turtle. Ontario’s native turtle species face serious threats because their habitats are threatened by urbanization. Road mortality, illegal hunting and the pet trade are just some of the reasons this ancient animal needs our help.

We occasionally cross paths with turtles on or near roads while out in the field. When safe to do so, we stop and assist turtles across the road. We document where the turtle was found, the size of the turtle and record any road fatalities. The information we gather helps us protect turtles and their habitat.

Here’s how you can help us protect turtles:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are near wetlands or river crossings remember you’re in turtle territory.
  2. Watch roadways for crossing turtles.
  3. If you do see a turtle and can safely move it to the shoulder, do so. Make sure to move it in the direction it was originally travelling.
  4. Remember – the eastern snapping turtle should be handled with care because it bites.

Saving a single turtle’s life contributes to the overall conservation of these wonderful creatures.

Visit www.creditvalleyca.ca/nai/ to learn more about the our Natural Area’s Inventory program and to report turtle sightings.

For information about the Toronto Wildlife Centre and Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre which work to assist injured turtles, visit www.torontowildlifecentre.com/ and www.kawarthaturtle.org/.

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