Turtles are on the move any time from April to October, although the busiest time for them is May and June. June is turtle egg laying season. Both males and females travel, and both are equally vulnerable to road mortality.
Turtle nests make easy targets for natural predators as eggs act as food for a great many wild species. Turtle nest protection frames have been installed by the Town of Georgina at Young’s Harbour Park and the trail off Glendower Crescent.
The protection structures protect the turtle nests from predators.
Some things residents should know about turtle nest protectors:
- All of Ontario’s eight native turtle species are considered Species at Risk, due to the many human-related threats.
- Both male and female turtles travel. Females often leave their home wetland in June and travel up to a kilometre away to lay their eggs. Females dig a hole, deposit the eggs and cover them up.
- Turtles do not care for the eggs and hatchlings must find their own way to water. Turtle eggs are food for many species and less than one per cent make it. It takes approximately 59 years for a snapping turtle to replace itself in the population, since they mature so late and so few eggs survive.
- Turtle nest protectors increase the survival rate of the eggs and hatchlings by keeping predators out.
- Nest protectors are made with a wood frame covered with narrow-gauge mesh (a.k.a. carpenter’s cloth). Exits are cut into the wooden frame big enough for the turtles to leave once hatched.
- The temperature of egg incubation affects the sex of most Ontario turtles. It’s important the nest protector doesn’t shade the site with heavy fabric.
- Don’t dig up, disturb or interfere with a nest. Be patient if there aren’t signs of hatching. Sometimes baby turtles hatch and remain in the nest over the winter to emerge in the spring.
For more information, visit the Canadian Wildlife Federation.