We’re now in prime time for snapping turtle nesting. Over the next three weeks or so female snapping turtles will be seeking nest sites. This activity will be especially pronounced when it is raining at night and in the morning after that rain. Regrettably, as we all know, many turtles are killed as they seek nesting sites along roads. Moreover, many of these nest sites are raided by racoons and other mammals that have learned to search the shoulders of roads for buried eggs.
A trial club project: HNPNC members, and other interested people, are invited to send your observations of roadside turtles (snapping and others) to a project I’ve set up on iNaturalist called “Nesting Turtles of Peel and Halton Regions Ontario”. Here is the link: https://inaturalist.ca/projects/nesting-turtles-of-peel-and-halton-regions-ontario
To log an observation you’ll need an iNaturalist password. This is easy to set up. Photographs are also required.
You can also choose to send reports of roadside turtles directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . If I’m to log the sightings on iNaturalist I’ll need a photo. However, if you don’t have a photo, please send me the information regardless.
The project will run June through July.
Here is the information required for each sighting:
Turtle species (most will be snapping turtles)
Date (in June or July)
Location (15th sideroad just west of Townline Rd. for example)
Observation Level: “Confirmed” (turtle observed laying eggs on shoulder of road) “Probable” (turtle digging a nest site on shoulder of road) “Possible” (adult turtle on shoulder of road but no nesting evidence)
Why do this? With this information we can begin to build a database of nesting snapping turtles in our area (Peel/Halton). This information could help towards understanding snapping turtle abundance and distribution in our area. Knowing where the turtles are and when and where they nest could help us protect nest sites in future years.
As indicated above, this is a trial project. Let’s give it a go. It can be refined moving forward.
Related: If interested on learning how to build a simple turtle nest protector see “Help Turtles” on this Canadian Wildlife Federation website: