Hobbitstee Purebred Toggenburg and Alpine Goats

Turtles in Ontario

There are 8 native turtle species in Ontario.

  • Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
  • Stinkpot Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
  • Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata)
  • Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographical)
  • Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
  • Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
  • Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
  • Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera)
  • Turtles are ectothermic – more commonly known as cold-blooded – meaning that they cannot generate their own body heat. They warm themselves by basking in the sun, and retreat to the water when they need to cool off.

    Turtles are most frequently observed in June, during the height of their nesting season. Females are often found crossing roads to reach traditional nesting sites or laying eggs in the gravel along roads. Turtle nests are laid in soil that is easy to dig and provides the correct amount of moisture so the eggs do not get too dry or too moist during incubation. Since the eggs are incubated by the sun’s warmth, nests are usually laid in a spot where there is not much vegetation to shade the ground.

    Incubation times vary depending on the weather conditions over the summer, but the eggs generally hatch in late summer or early fall. The gender of many turtles, including all of the species found in the Kawarthas, is determined by incubation temperatures. A long hot summer means that more of the young turtles will develop as females.

    Less than 1 in a hundred turtle eggs laid will hatch and grow into an adult turtle. Unlike birds, turtles do not tend their nests once laid, nor care for their young once they hatch. Once the female has finished laying her eggs she never sees them again. Nests are easily found and destroyed by predators such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes looking for an early summer meal. The babies that do hatch are vulnerable to predators on land and in the water and few ever reach maturity (8-25 years of age depending on the species).

    However, adult turtles have few natural predators and enjoy a high survival rate. Most species live at least 30-40 years and some species can live to over 100 years! But it can take decades of nesting for just one egg to survive to replace the turtle that laid it.

    Eight of the eight species of turtle in Ontario have been designated as “species at risk”. As is the case for many species at risk, habitat destruction has played a major role in the decline of turtles. Many of the marshes, swamps, bogs and fens that turtles once called home have been drained, filled, or otherwise altered.

    Roads have been built through several of the remaining wetlands, and as a result road mortality is now a major threat to turtles. The majority of the turtles killed by cars are adult females on their way to or from nesting sites, which means that fewer eggs are laid every year and there is an even smaller chance that those killed by cars will be replaced in the future.

    Other threats include collection for food or the pet trade, pollution, competition with non-native turtles such as red-eared sliders, and the increasing populations of predators who are benefiting from human settlement.

    How you can help

  • Help turtles cross the road - If you see a turtle crossing a road, please stop and help the turtle cross in the direction it is going. Make sure to do it safely. It is important to be aware of other traffic and handle a turtle safely. The pictures below shows a proper method to pick up a turtle safely, however I'd recommend wearing gloves to prevent disease transfer. There are many other methods that vcan be used to assist turtles across the road such as using your car mat to lside them across or a shovel to lift them acorss.

    Please make sure that you are not causing a traffic hazard. Only help a turtle cross if you can do it safely without risking your or anyone elses life!

  • Injured turtle rehabilitation - At Hobbitstee we help turtles who need it. Turtles have an amazing ability to recover from injuries if given the right care. Often even turtles who look very badly injured will recover. We encourage people to bring us sick or injured turtles. We do ask that you contact us We want to make sure we are ready for the animal you bring us.

    Injured turtles are best transported in plastic totes. Don't put any water in the tote for transport. If the turtle is too injured to lift his or her head the turtle can drown.

  • Egg recovery/hatching/headstarting - We recover eggs from recently deceased turtles and hatch them. To increase the survival rate of the hatchlings we keep them for a year before they get released back in an appropriate area near the location the dead turtle was found. We encourage you to bring us recently deceased turtles during the month of June. We do ask that you contact us prior to bringing an deceased animal over.

    Annually we hatch upwards of 1000 turtle eggs from turtles who have been killed on their way to lay their eggs. in doing so we can reduce the genetic loss of a breading age female a little bit.

  • Turtles and fishinghooks - Every year we see a number of turtle who have swallowed or got hooked somehow by a fishinghook. We ask that fieshermen bring us those turtles. Please don't just cut your line when you hook a turtle. Let's save the turtle a slow painful death and get him or her some help. We work with SPCA's, Humane Societies and Animal Control Agencies all over south-western Ontario. Contact us directly or contac one of the afore mentioned agencies.

  • Education - Education is also part of our turtle program. We will gladly attent your event or come and speak to your group or class. Our program is interactive and adatable to all ages.

    Send us an email to request brochures, educational material or to invite us to attend your event. chantal@hobbitstee.com

  • A video outlining our project:

    Hobbitstee Native Turtle Rehabilitation & Egg Hatching Project from Hobbitstee.

    We are working hard to expand our turtle rehabilitation project. We hope to revamp out outdoor turtle hospital using solar technology and natural water filtration via a newly created wetland.

    The new wildlife hospital which we start building in the spring of 2023 will have a unit all set up to house the critically injured turtles and a sperate space dedicated to all the turtle egg incubators we use for turtle egg hatching. We hope to raise money to get all this done. If you like to donate to this project please visit the Donate page and support our turtle program