May 172017
This morning, May 17, I spied a tiny Painted Turtle on our paved path, very slowly making its way to the river.  This is the first time we’ve had an overwintering hatchling.  As I was taking it down to the river on my hand, it remained quite motionless unlike previous baby snappers that have hatched in the autumn.  As soon as those snappers got the scent of water, they raised their heads and started crawling from hand to hand to follow the scent.
Once at the river, I held the little one in my hand until it raised its head and showed some interest in its new watery surroundings.  Even after I put it on some sunny moss very near shallow water, it took at least another five or so minutes before it became active, then it slipped into the water.  Home at last!  I do hope it survives.
Stephenie Armstrong
Aug 312016

Ontario is home to eight different species of turtle.  Seven turtle species have been designated as Species at Risk. Three species of turtle (in bold) are found in the Jack Lake watershed.

Status of Ontario turtles
Blandings Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)
Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
No Status
Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
Special Concern
Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
Special Concern
Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera spinifera)
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
On a provincial basis, turtle observations are stored in the Ontario Herpetofaunal Survey database (Crowley undated).  Prior to 2014 there were records of 4 Blandings turtles, 8 snapping turtles and 10 midland painted turtles in that database. Members of the Jack lake Association have sporadically contributed to this database over the years but a concerted effort was initiated in 2014 to solicit volunteers from around the lake to report turtle observations. Over the past three years (2014-2016) JLA volunteers have made a substantial contribution (recorded observations of 155 individual turtles) to the knowledge of the distribution and general status of turtles in the Jack Lake watershed.  Individual observations, combined with data from the Ontario Herpetofaunal Survey, have been summarized by Kerr (2016).

Turtle Observations from the Jack Lake area (Square 17QK35). Data was derived from the Ontario Herpetofaunal Survey supplemented by observations from volunteers of the Jack Lake Association.

2014: 2 Blandings, 32 Painted, 12 Snapping

2015: 3 Blandings, 58 Painted, 20 Snapping

2016: 5 Blanding, 14 Painted, 16 Snapping

Submitted by Steve Kerr, Jack Lake

Painted Turtle nesting (Rick Stankiewicz)

Painted Turtle laying eggs – Rick Stankiewicz

Snapping Turtle - Rick Stankiewicz (2007)

Snapping Turtle – Rick Stankiewicz

Blanding's Turtle Rick Stankiewicz

Blanding’s Turtle – Rick Stankiewicz


Apr 262016

About two weeks ago, in the northeastern part of Peterborough County, I saw the following species. APRIL 14: Hubble Road – 3 Eastern Comma butterflies; Sandy Lake Road – 1 Eastern Comma and 1 Mourning Cloak. APRIL 15: Charlie Allan Road – 6 Compton Tortiseshell;  Galway/Cavendish Forest Access Road – 4 Eastern Comma, 2 Mourning Cloak, 2 Compton Tortiseshell and 46 Painted Turtles; Cedarwood Drive – 1 Compton Tortiseshell; Pencil Lake Road – 1 Mourning Cloak; Lou Philips Drive – 1 Mourning Cloak

Jerry Ball

Mourning Cloak - Maple Cr. - Apr. 2014 - Drew Monkman

Mourning Cloak – Maple Cr. – Apr. 2014 – Drew Monkman

Compton Tortoiseshell - Wikimedia

Compton Tortoiseshell – Wikimedia


Eastern Comma - Terry Carpenter

Eastern Comma – Terry Carpenter


May 162015

Today, May 16, I saw two tiny Painted Turtles (hatchlings) on the Trans-Canada Trail east of the bridge at Lily Lake in the west end of Peterborough.

Sophie Monkman

Note: Baby Painted Turtles hatch out of eggs in the fall but don’t actually emerge fromj the ground until the following spring. They spend their first winter in the “nest.” All subsequent winters, however, are spent at the bottom of a pond or other body of water. According to Wikimedia, “The hatchling’s ability to survive winter in the nest has allowed the Painted Turtle to extend its range further north than any other Northe American turtle. The  turtle is genetically adapted to survive extended periods of subfreezing temperatures with blood that can remain supercooled and skin that resists penetration from ice crystals in the surrounding ground.”  D.M. 

Painted Turtle hatchling - Wikimedia

Painted Turtle hatchling – Wikimedia

May 102014

I was riding on the trail today in Jackson Park near the new bridge and helped move some baby turtles from the trail to the banks of Jackson Creek. They were about the size of a loonie and covered in mud. I think they were baby ‘snappers.’ Isn’t this early for turtle hatchlings?

Barry Diceman, Peterborough

I think they were probably baby Midland Painted Turtles. Although the eggs hatch in the fall, baby painted turtles usually remain in the nest – underground – until the following spring, when they emerge. They are able to use sugar-based “anti-freeze” compounds to avoid freezing to death. However, they can only do this once. All subsequent winters are spent at the bottom of ponds. I have never heard of Snapping Turtles being able to overwinter in the ground, but I suppose it may be possible. All turtle eggs hatch in the fall as I know.

Midland Painted Turtle hatchling -WikiMedia

Midland Painted Turtle hatchling -WikiMedia