Seven of Ontario’s eight turtle species have been classified as Species at Risk. These species are in danger of becoming extinct or disappearing from Ontario or Canada. The main causes of turtle declines include loss of habitat, road mortality and illegal collections. However, nest predation may also endanger turtle populations. Many turtle nests can be dug up by predators such as raccoon, skunk and fox attracted by the nest’s strong scent. Turtle eggs are most vulnerable to predation immediately after they are laid.
Turtle Nest Protectors
You can play a role in turtle conservation by getting involved in a simple stewardship activity right in your backyard. Do you (or anyone you know) have a turtle that annually digs her nest on your property? You can help ensure her offspring survive to waddle their way to water by using a turtle nest protector, or Incubation Care Unit (ICU). By covering the nest with the ICU immediately after the female has laid eggs, and then removing it after a couple weeks, predators may be thwarted and the eggs protected to hatch and emerge from the nest in late summer.
Lower Trent Conservation, on behalf of the Quinte Field Naturalists Club, is offering $10 turtle nest protectors for sale. You can pick yours up at the Lower Trent Conservation office. It comes with installation instructions and a Turtles of Ontario Stewardship Guide produced by the Toronto Zoo.