Thursday, June 12, 2014

The line-up

More photos from friend Mike in Elliott Lake. (Thanks Mike)

The above photo caught my attention. I love turtles. My kids had them when they were little and so did my brothers. They are fascinating creatures. This gang is enjoying timeout, basking in the sun.
Time out from basking as this beautiful large painted turtle heads inland maybe to start laying eggs. She'll be looking for a sandy patch of land to dig a hole and bury them. She then will abandon them. They'll be at risk for predation from birds and other creatures such as racoons.
Just checking! Neat close-up.
A snapping turtle.
And a baby snapper maybe or a painted?
Which brings me to my adventure yesterday. You can see how tiny this wee thing is. Not a lump of dirt on a road... but don't run those lumps over please - they could be baby turtles. Most hatch from their eggs and head for water! That could be across the highway.

Yesterday tired and driving home on one of our county roads, I passed a huge lump of black on the side of the road. Quick scan in my brain and I realized it was likely a turtle. I quickly found a driveway and turned around, put on my flashers when I saw this large lump across the road and looked for something solid to help me. I only had an umbrella with a plastic end on its handle. Not much but when in need....

I tried to get the large snapper - a female obviously searching for just the right place to dig a hole and drop her eggs - to grab onto the end of the umbrella and let me drag her to safety behind her in the swamp. She bit a large piece of plastic off the end. I spent the next few minutes aggravating her so she would open her mouth and let me fish out the sliver of plastic stuck on the bottom of her mouth - tongue? don't know enough about snappers to know if they have tongues, and frankly didn't care, just wanted it to be okay. There was a soft net type of thing on the end of the umbrella's handle to put over my wrist. I dragged it carefully and repeatedly over the piece of plastic in the bottom of her mouth.

Whether the turtle knew I was trying to help or not I have no idea, but it didn't hiss, just obligingly opened its mouth. I was pleased when I got the sharp piece out, then tried to nudge this old gal... she must have been at least a foot and a half long... into the grass on the verge.

I looked up as I sensed someone coming. A very kind fellow who had been alerted by a nearby neighbour walked up to me grinning. "Got a turtle?"

I replied "I need help to get it off the road,I can't lift it."

He showed me the right place to grab these creatures if I was alone, then went back around the corner to his home and got a shovel and a metal basket...returned with his truck to gently put the turtle into the crate and promised he would put it into the pond with a gravelly/sandy beach on his property. I told him that snapping turtles are on the Endangered Species list in Ontario as being of Special Concern. He was going to call the Conservation Authority and told me some other stories of his adventures with turtles... All good and all interesting.

So thanks to contractor Dwight Beer, one turtle has probably laid her eggs by now and is living happily in his pond.

Please be careful at this time of year and keep an eye open for turtles on the road, big and small the roads and the turtles. June seems to be the time for mating and reproducing.
They come in all sizes! And there are some conservation groups that help take care of turtles that have been run over. Check with your local vet - they will know or know how to find one, or call your natural resources ministry/department or the local SPCA.


  1. Mike says the baby turtle is a painted.

  2. Barbie:
    Awesome - just so your readers know Peterborough’s Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, the only veterinary hospital and rescue centre in the province dedicated to caring for injured native-species turtles and their eggs, and releasing them back to the wild.
    Helping injured turtles

    If you find an injured turtle, call the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre at 705-741-5000. Staff can direct you to the nearest wildlife centre that may be able to help. In the GTA, that would be the Toronto Wildlife Centre. The centre also has a network of volunteers in the province — members of the “turtle taxi’’ squad — who may also be able to assist and take the turtle to the KTTC. Put the injured turtle in a ventilated container with a lid — but no water. Do not lift by the tail. You can slide a shovel or board gently underneath an injured turtle to lift it into a box. Be careful to keep a safe distance from the head of a snapping turtle, which may feel threatened. (Source The Toronto Star article Published on Thu Apr 25 2013)
    Also note the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre is looking for people to vote online at for grant money so please vote!

    1. Sue - so glad that your information is up there for those who would like to learn more. The Learning Project as well is a terrific opportunity for kids to learn about reptiles.

      By the way I now keep a shovel in the car.

      And Mike, when he read this told me a tale of not having a shovel but the snapper grabbed him by the boot, which fortunately had a sturdy toe. We dragged the turtle across the road by with his shoe firmly in its jaws! He was not hurt though, Tough boots I guess.

  3. What a neat post, I love all the turtles. The baby Painted Turtle is adorable.. Have a great evening and week ahead!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Eileen - I too love turtles and always try to help them on their way if I can during breeding season. But they are such fun. You too enjoy the week ahead!