Turtles are Hatching!

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A new clutch of head-start Blanding’s turtles started hatching at the Toronto Zoo on August 6th! Blanding’s turtles, a threatened species in Ontario, are decreasing due to the destruction of their wetland habitat, and by being hit by cars on the road during nesting season (May through June).

Our recently hatched head-start turtles will be raised at the Zoo for two-years. Once they are big enough to more easily evade most predators, the turtles will be released into the wetlands. It’s just one of many programs by Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Programme aimed at species preservation.

Keep a look out on the roads and in sandy areas for emerging baby turtles this time of year! If you have baby turtles hatching on you property, and know the location of their nursery wetland, you can gently collect them in a clean bucket and release them into the water. This can prevent these little guys from being eaten by natural predators like skunks, raccoons and birds while travelling to the water.

Be careful not to displace the baby turtles. If you have to drive to the wetland, it’s not their nursery habitat. Baby turtles have a natural instinct to find their wetland homes, so if you unsure of where it is, leave them be, and they’ll find it on their own.

A great way to help with turtle conservation in Ontario is to report your hatchling turtle sightings to Ontario Turtle Tally . All sightings go into a database to help us determine where turtles are living, locate areas for conservation initiatives, and provide information on turtle populations for research studies.