What is that slow moving creature on the road?
Summerstown ON – That slow moving shelled creature is probably one of the 8 out of 9 species of turtles in Ontario which are on the species at risk of extinction list.
Yes Folks….please reread this sentence again. This is due to our own lack of respect to the habitat required for the turtles to live a peaceful healthy existence. As of 2008, the Snapping Turtle, which is often seen nesting in the gravel shoulders of our roads, was placed on this list.
We are fortunate to live in an area of the province which is rich in water habitat. Activity increases around these areas from May until September. Populations have declined where roadways intersect wetlands due to road kill.
Our wetland areas sustain a diverse animal population (including us) with clean water. Please do keep an eye out for the slow-moving turtle and the other wildlife which has to cross roadways to find their nesting or feeding grounds in our wetland areas. Should a turtle be spotted on the road in your travels, please do lend them a hand in getting them to the other side of the road by putting them on the side of the road in the direction they were heading.
The snapping turtle may try to bite (this is their only defense as they cannot hide in their shells) so consider pulling the back part of the shell onto your car matt before moving it to the side of the road they were going. (This works well, I have first-hand experience.) A turtle’s shell will not withstand the weight of a car on its shell nor will it stay alive with a cracked shell. There is a network of caring knowledgeable people in Eastern Ontario who are ready to nurse an injured turtle back to health.
Please visit www.turtleshelltortue.org (click emergency on menu) to familiarize yourself with the best practices for looking after an injured turtle and the network of volunteers available 24/7. This organization is a registered Canadian charitable organization dedicated to turtles.
Do take note of the area where the turtle was found so that they can be returned to their community when healed. Your consideration, help and respect will help to insure healthy populations of turtles for generations to come. Please proceed with caution in areas indicated by the Turtle Crossing signs. These signs indicate high activity areas.
These signs were made possible through the caring and generosity of The Cornwall & District Environment Committee, The South Glengarry Environment Committee, SDG County Roads Department, TD Friends of the Environment, Cornwall Electric, Catherine Ledevin, McKay Line Pole and the non profit Canadian organization Turtle Shell Tortue. Questions concerning turtles or Turtle Crossing Signs can be directed to Katherine Beehler of The Raison Region Conservation Authority; Katherine.Beehler@rrca.on.ca or 613-938-3611.
Your commentary concerning this article is encouraged and welcome.