In Ontario we are lucky enough to have eight different species of turtle. Sadly however, seven of these eight are considered Species at Risk.
Adult turtles are designed to be nearly impervious to attacks from predators. However, one predator consistently comes out on top when they encounter a turtle – a car! Roads represent one of the biggest threat to turtles across the province, and this time of year it’s especially important we keep a vigilant eye out for them.
Throughout June, turtles will be nesting in Presqu’ile, as well as across the province – female turtles come up out of the marsh and on to land to lay their eggs. During this time, turtles, especially females, are very likely to be seen crossing roads.
This is even more important as females are crucial to the population because they are the only ones that can lay eggs – 30-40 for Snapping Turtles. Because turtles live so long and start breeding so late in their life (about 20 years old), if a female turtle, which can live over 100 years is killed by a car, it may never get a chance to contribute to the population, and turtles may disappear.
This June, please try to keep a special eye out for turtles. Driving a little slower, stopping for crossing turtles, or helping one across the road is an enormous help to these animals, and can literally be the difference between life and death.
Some useful links:
www.kawarthaturtle.org - Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre
www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/ - Toronto Zoo Adopt-A-Pond Program
www.youtube.com/v/Lgd_B6iKPxU?rel=0&autoplay=1 – Learn how to move a turtle across a road