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.