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.

    Seven 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 show two proper methods to pick up a turtle.

  • 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 prior to bringing an animal over because MNR rules dictate that all wildlife of unknow origin/location has to be euthanized. We also want to make sure we are ready for the animal you bring us.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Our Turtle Poject was in the news:

    Hobbitstee seeks County’s help with turtle campaign

    We where succesfull and some wildlife crossing signs have been installed with more to follow...

    A video outlining our project:

    Hobbitstee Native Turtle Rehabilitation & Egg Hatching Project from Hobbitstee.