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  • Julia RIley

FAQs about Ontario Turtle Conservation: What can you do?

A hatchling painted turtle basking beside the nest it just emerged from, interspersed with turtle eggshells, preparing for it's first big journey to the water.

I was recently asked to contribute to a blog series by Ontario Nature's Emma Horrigan answering common questions that are asked about the actions people can take to help to protect, conserve, and positively-impact turtles in Ontario.

A spiny soft-shell turtle hit on the road and killed; a sad reality for way too many turtles. If your interested, check out my research on reptiles road ecology (i.e., assessment of road mitigation measures, road surveys to find cryptic species, indirect threats of roads on reptiles, observations about how five-lined skinks and painted turtle hatchlings are impacted by roads).

Part 1 of the blog answers questions about what to do if you find a turtle on the road - during nesting season (late May to July each year in Ontario) turtles are more likely to be crossing roads because they are moving from foraging grounds to nesting locations, as well the soft gravel shoulders of roads often looks like optimal nesting habitat for many turtle species. This can be VERY risky for turtles, often resulting in death. So, make sure to check out the actions you can take to help turtles out!

If you observe turtles on the road (alive or dead), or anywhere else in Ontario, please remember to submit your observations to the Ontario Reptile & Amphibian Atlas - there are even apps for your cell phone to make reporting a breeze! This will greatly help our understanding of turtles, and the threats they are facing, throughout Ontario. Don't forget that you can also report sightings of other reptiles and amphibians too!

A painted turtle in the middle of nesting (top), and a fox sniffing a protective nest cage (bottom). If your interested, check out my research comparing commonly-used nest caging designs and describing nest predation patterns that peak at both the beginning and end of the nest incubation period.

Part 2 of the blog focuses on what you can do if you find a female turtle nesting or a hatchling turtle emerging from the nest. It provides some great resources (like this one from the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre on protective nest caging) that provide more information about turtles, and how we can all work to protect these amazing creatures.

Thank you so much for all your interest in protecting and caring for turtles. The world needs more turtle heros!


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