To get to the other side. So if you see one and it is safe to help it, take it across in the direction it was heading. We only move turtles in harms way!
For a great example of how to move a turtle across the road, check out this video from Toronto Zoo: How to help a Snapping Turtle Cross the Road - YouTube
End of May (earlier weather dependent) to mid July. Keep 2-3 car lengths away from the turtle. She doesn't want to see you and would like to lay her eggs and go back to the water safely since a mother turtle doesn't stay with her eggs. Volunteers watch from a distance and put a nest protector on their nest, carefully.
Nest protectors are built with small exit areas for the hatchlings. We make sure weeds and stones are not obstructing these holes as we can't trap the hatchlings from coming out. If there are any issues with the nest protector including that it has been trampled on or overturned, notify us by going to the Volunteer with Us page and click on the "Help with a Turtle" form. Volunteers can assist with the ongoing maintenance of the protectors whether on the nest or off.
Incubation can be 60-90 days but it really depends on weather, soil conditions and other environmental factors and can take longer even. We place the nest protector carefully and take efforts to prevent predators from getting in. Volunteers watch for hatchlings after the 60-day mark. Remember, they can hatch and just stay in that nest longer. In fact, painted turtles often overwinter and can come out of their nest in the spring.
Leave the nest protectors in place. If you see a flag sticking out of one, please don't take them out and let the kids play with them. If the flag needs to go back, the corners of the protector are safe. We don't want to impale an egg or baby by stabbing anything in the centre of the the nest!
Red eared sliders (RES) are not native to Ontario and have no place in our wetlands. They are pet turtles where owners have dumped them in the lakes thinking mistakenly that they can have a better life there. A pet turtle can live more than 30 years so choose wisely if you want a pet turtle. There are places that offer re-homing for these turtles and are a great place to find a new friend. Ask us if you want more info.
They are a Keystone species, depended on in the ecosystem. They are gardeners, dispersing seeds and fertilizing through their digestion as well as producing nitrogen and phosphorus. They are janitors, eating dead fish and plants, cleaning the water of bacteria.
It is illegal to interfere with a turtle nest in Ontario. Only trained members under permit are allowed to excavate nests where appropriate. We aim to keep turtles in their own habitat wherever possible but the urban setting doesn't always make that possible.
Equally so, turtles cannot be handled without a permit unless they are in harms way. If you aren't sure, contact us for assistance.