It’s Totally Turtle Time Again

Early summer particularly hazardous for female turtles as they search out places to lay eggs

With summer just around the corner and traffic volumes increasing steadily, southern Ontario residents are being urged to be extra watchful for turtles, snakes and other wildlife on roadways. This is especially true in areas close to wetlands and woodlands where wildlife populations may be greater.

“Roads are one of the biggest hazards to turtles and snakes,” said Gregor Beck, Director of Conservation Science with Long Point Basin Land Trust. “Female turtles often venture across roads in late spring as they search for nesting sites and this obviously puts them directly in harm’s way. Protecting adult females during the nesting season is one of the most effective ways to conserve turtles since the eggs they lay each year represent the population of the future.”

The central Carolinian Region is home to 19 species of turtles and snakes. Unfortunately, six of seven turtles and half of the area’s dozen snakes are listed as species at risk. Habitat loss, road kill, persecution and even the illegal collection of reptiles for the pet and restaurant trade are all factors leading to population declines. This time of year is hazardous not only for nesting female turtles, but also for snakes which are travelling to summering habitats and seeking mates.

Long Point Basin Land Trust offers the following tips to help reptiles:
• Watch for and avoid turtles, snakes and other wildlife on roads. Driving a bit slower near natural areas like wetlands and woodlands is a simple way to avoid collisions with wildlife.
Report sightings of turtles and snakes to Reporting sightings helps the Land Trust learn more about reptile populations and plan conservation activities.
• Report suspicious activity or suspected wildlife poaching to authorities. Report suspected poaching to the Ministry of Natural Resources’ TIPS line: 1-877-847-7667 (1-877-TIPS-MNR).
• Learn more about reptiles and species at risk. LPBLT has produced a series of new videos and factsheets with practical tips and information about species at risk and reptiles.