Turtles are a sensitive species
Some turtle species live to be 60 to 100 years of age. Many species do not start reproducing until they are 15 years of age or older. As a result, they are susceptible to population decline. Adult losses from non-natural deaths can have a significant impact on their populations. Common human-related threats include habitat loss, vehicle collisions and poaching.
Turtle nests are often eaten or destroyed by predators. To counteract this, turtles lay many eggs with the hope that a few will make it to adulthood.
How you can help
- Stay out of designated nesting habitat areas. This includes your pets.
- Don’t handle turtles unless they are in danger.
- Help educate others on what threats turtles face.
- Never take a turtle out of the wild to become a household pet.
Turtle species in Guelph
Snapping turtle (Chelydra s. serpentine)
- Largest freshwater turtle in Canada
- Long tail, small shell compared to body size
- Prehistoric or dinosaur-like appearance
- Cannot retract into its shell
- Species of conservation concern
- Uses a wide variety of habitats (e.g. slow flowing rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands)
Midland painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata)
- Most common turtle species in Ontario
- Small in size; generally < 15 centimetres
- Light-coloured plastron (lower shell)
- Smooth slightly-domed shell
- Distinct red and yellow markings on neck
- Often seen basking on logs and rocks
- Uses a variety of habitats (e.g. slow flowing rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands)