Sep 132016

Thought I would send you these photos of a baby Snapping Turtle. I removed 10 from my river road on Friday, Sept 9th. My friend on Nogies Creek had 6 baby Blanding’s hatch on Labour Day after they had covered up the nest to protect it from predators.

Marie Windover, Cty Rd 507, Flynn’s Corners

Baby Snapping Turtle - Marie Windover

Baby Snapping Turtle – Marie Windover

Snapping Turtle size comparison with lighter - Marie Windover

Snapping Turtle size comparison with lighter – Marie Windover

Blanding's Turtle -  Rick Stankiewicz

Blanding’s Turtle – Rick Stankiewicz

Sep 062016

This past weekend, I observed the hatch of 8-10 Snapping Turtles on Rathbun Bay, Jack Lake. There is a very small sand beach between my neighbours cottages and the young turtles (1-1.5 inches in size) were all in the shallow water adjacent to the beach. No nesting activity had been observed back in early summer.

Steve Kerr, Jack Lake

SNTU hatchling in holding tank Stephenie Armstrong - 2014

Hatchling in holding tank – Stephenie Armstrong – 2014

Snapping Turtle  hatchling on its way - Stephenie Armstrong - 2014

Snapping Turtle hatchling on its way – Stephenie Armstrong – 2014

Baby Snapping Turtle - Stephenie Armstrong

Snapping Turtle hatchling – 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


May 312015

Last evening (May 30th) I saw two good sized Snapping Turtles up from the Otonabee River into our neighbourhood (Hazel Cres., OSM Twp.) First of the season and a bit early, as usually it’s the first week of June before we see them out and about.

Rick Stankiewicz, Keene

Snapping Turtle - Rick Stankiewicz (2007)

Snapping Turtle – Rick Stankiewicz (2007)

Snapping Turtle on roadside (Danielle Tassie - 2008)

Snapping Turtle on roadside (Danielle Tassie – 2008)

Nov 162014

My son spotted a Snapping Turtle swimming through our beach on day. I grabbed the camera, mask and snorkel and followed it for over 30 minutes. I was also able to make a video. For most of the time I was within arms reach of the turtle. It casually observed me as it went about its business. A very mild mannered creature and an amazing experience! The best shots are near the end of the video.

Paul Laufer, Peterborough

Snapping Turtle - Rick Stankiewicz

Snapping Turtle – Rick Stankiewicz

Nov 072014

Earlier this year, on June 17, we witnessed a Snapping Turtle laying her eggs in our gravel turning circle. We protected the area with wire mesh weighted down at the edges. We had first indications of hatching when a small hole appeared 16 weeks later. Between October 8th-14th, we recorded 20 hatchlings. Of those, 17 were all carried down to the river by an anxious guardian – me. We did come across three dead turtles at some distance from the nest, at least one of which may have hatched earlier, and these appeared to have been heading the wrong way in the opposite direction from the river, as did some of the remaining turtles when they emerged from their nest. I do so hope our intervention with the 17 gave them a chance and that some of them manage to survive, despite their natural instinct to crawl away westward not eastward towards the river.

Snapping Turtle nest - Stephenie Armstrong

Snapping Turtle preparing to lay eggs – Stephenie Armstrong

For the last three hatchlings, Peter and I put them in a “holding bed” (a large tray with some water at one end) as a nursery, as these last three still had not absorbed their sacks. We took the tray up onto the porch to keep the little ones safe from predators. Despite a stay of over 4 hours in the nursery, only one had absorbed the sack, but they were all so eager in trying to climb out of the tray and regularly falling backwards onto their backs, that we thought it wise to take them to the river. I put them onto a smooth short walk to the shallow muddy water, in hopes that the sacks wouldn’t rupture on this smooth surface.

Snapper hatchling - Stephenie Armstrong - Oct. 2014

Snapper hatchling – Stephenie Armstrong

In the past, the turtles we have rescued have all become very animated in my hand as I walked down towards the river, moving from hand to hand as they sensed the proximity of water. These little ones, for the most part, were rather passive and only a few reacted as I drew near the river.

I did phone the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre for some advice about the sacks and the “holding bed” and was assured I was doing the right thing. However, she too was puzzled by the direction the turtles were taking after hatching. As she said, nature isn’t perfect and there are so many factors affecting the development of the turtles in their eggs. Some may not have been fully fertilized, temperatures may have affected them, etc. She did say that the eggs tend to hatch over a few days, not taking as long as our lot. In the end there remained four eggs unhatched in the nest. Peter back-filled the hole for the winter, but I don’t suppose these few will hatch next year.

Hatchling on its way to the river - Stephenie Armstrong - 2014

Hatchling on its way to the river – Stephenie Armstrong

I’ve attached a picture of Mom laying the eggs, and two of the turtles on their arrival at the river and a couple of the nursery pictures. It was wonderful to see these little ones emerge from their underground nest and view the world for the first time.

Stephenie Armstrong, Sawmill Road, Warsaw

Snapper hatchlings in "holding tank" Note yolk sacs. Stephenie Armstrong - 2014

Snapper hatchlings in “holding tank” Note yolk sacs. Stephenie Armstrong – 2014