Thanks to Karla Torres for the heads up about the return of the Stitt Park turtle, spotted by several people yesterday morning. The photo above is from Jean-Michel Bastien, via Facebook.
Could this be the same turtle who buried her eggs in the sand last summer? Torres and her family saw a turtle laying eggs, then helped build an enclosure to protect the nest. A few weks later the community got involved to protect it after vandals destroyed the structure. When the turtles hatched in September, neighbours helped move them to safety in nearby Poole Creek. (Read more, plus cute baby turtle photos here…)
The grounds crew at the Amberwood golf course also found turtle eggs buried on the 9th hole sand trap this week, and reburied them nearby in a safer spot.
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.
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.