Reptile Atlas Volunteers Wanted!

– Long Point Land Trust encourages public to report turtle and snake sightings –

 (Port Rowan, Ontario)  The Long Point Basin Land Trust is encouraging the public to participate in its reptile research and conservation project. Helping out is as simple as reporting turtle or snake sightings through the Land Trust website at While online reporting is preferred, sightings can also be submitted by mail, email, fax or phone. By reporting observations of reptiles, members of the public, landowners and conservation groups can all take part in helping to develop effective local conservation strategies.

 “Our region contains a fascinating diversity of reptiles,” said Gregor Beck, conservation science director for the Land Trust. “Unfortunately, the majority of our turtle species and half of our snake species are now classified at risk. These populations are threatened by habitat loss, mortality on roads, illegal collection for the pet trade, and pollution. Sadly, many of these species are threatened not just locally, but provincially and nationally.”

 The Land Trust’s “Conserving Carolinian Reptiles” project is a multi-year initiative which includes the volunteer-based reptile atlas and surveys. These efforts will help determine reptile distributions and populations. The Trust is also conducting outreach, education, and creating habitats for turtles and snakes.

 “Public participation in the reptile reporting program is vital,” said Beck. “Last year, the Land Trust received hundreds of reports of turtles and snakes from across our region. The response has been really encouraging – people are definitely keen to share their observations and help these species. We hope that participation grows so that we can learn more about these interesting species and determine the most effective ways to help.”

 People can report sightings quickly and easily by following the link to the Conserving Carolinian Reptiles project on the group’s website. The site also contains locally-tailored turtle and snake identification factsheets, as well as newsletters with additional information. The factsheets explain that none of the native snake species in the Long Point Basin are poisonous. In fact, many snakes, such as Foxsnake and Milksnake, are excellent rodent predators. These species’ habit of vibrating their tail when threatened, however, sometimes puts them at risk since people mistakenly think they are dangerous. The Hog-nosed Snake is another species which is harmless to humans despite its complex defensive strategies which include spreading its neck, hissing and ‘playing dead.’

 “A great thing about the reptile atlas is that anyone can help,” added Beck. “Whether you see a single reptile or have dozens of observations, we’re interested in hearing about it. We look forward to receiving reports from across our region – from Port Stanley through Norfolk County east toward Dunnville. Reports from rural and inland areas, such as St. Thomas, Aylmer, Tillsonburg, Simcoe, Waterford and Jarvis, are of great interest also.”

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 Long Point Basin Land Trust is a charitable non-government organization which protects and restores important natural habitats in the Carolinian Region. It promotes conservation through outreach, research, habitat restoration and species at risk recovery. The Trust owns two nature reserves and works with landowners and conservation groups to steward natural areas.

 Financial assistance for this project is provided by The Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, The John and Pat McCutcheon Charitable Foundation, individual donors, and conservation partners.

For further information, please contact:

Gregor Beck:  Phone 519-718-2910; email:

Long Point Basin Land Trust: PO Box 468, Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0; Fax: 519-586-8310; visit: