Karla Torres and her family witnessed nature up close last week when they saw a snapping turtle laying her eggs in the sand at Stitt Street Park.
“Our kids were there and saw everything,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “It was an awesome experience! The mission now is to protect the eggs until they hatch, that will take around 9 to 18 weeks. We made a protection around the nest and a sign. Let’s spread the word and help those baby turtles survive!”
She’s contacted the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary to get advice on what can be done to help protect the eggs from predators, like birds, raccoons and skunks.
Another resident reported seeing a snapping turtle laying eggs along Sweetnam Drive the day before.
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UPDATE: We’ve received reports today of snapping turtles crossing the road or laying eggs near Overland Drive in Jackson Trails; on Rosehill Drive near Huntmar in Fairwinds; and on Trailway Circle in Amberwood.
Snapping turtles are the largest freshwater turtle in Canada, and are common in Eastern Ontario. They’re often seen in areas near Poole Creek in Stittsville. They usually dig nests in late May or June, and lay anywhere from 40 to 50 eggs.
Snapping turtles bury their eggs, usually in sand, but then leave them unprotected. Protective netting is often used to help protect the nests, such as the one in Stitt Street Park.
According to OntarioNature.org, the snapping turtle is listed as Special Concern both the Ontario Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act. It’s also a Specially Protected Reptile under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.