Mama turtle on a mission

By Liann Bobechko »Liann Bobechko

July 8th, 2010

Turtle1

3 comments

Randy Craig, Kashe Lake cottager and our Director of Advertising & Marketing, has over the years, made a habit of popping by my desk Monday mornings, buoyed up by his latest weekend nature sighting. We often end up with a resource book or field guide in hand, trying to figure out what he saw, and just what it was doing. This June Randy had a most unusual visitor around the campfire one evening.

You never know what to expect when you arrive at the cottage on Friday evening. To our surprise we came across a good size turtle digging a nesting site beside our cliffside fire pit. We knew it wasn’t a painted or snapping turtle…so we referred to the Up North Again book by Tim Tiner and Doug Bennet. Our mother of reptiles was a Blanding’s turtle… best known for its lake bottom feeding and shy manner. No sunbathing on rocks or downed trees for this turtle. It turns out these guys only venture on land to lay eggs. We’re not sure how the area next to our fire pit became the primo nesting area, but we do know it gets full sun so it’s a warm cozy place. We watched on and off for more than five hours as the pit was dug, eggs laid and dirt replaced.

 

We helped out now and then by removing the odd stubborn rock and by offering some extra sand and dirt for the cover up. Both gestures appeared to be well received! Now we have to wait up to 100 days to see what happens next. In the mean time, our fire pit is off limits and temporary one is in the works. Stay tuned: We’ll let you know how this story ends…

 


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Katie

Jul. 12, 2010

10:43 am

I'm excited to hear that these folks were lucky enough to see a Blanding's turtle! While working at a provincial park in Ontario they were the coolest animal I never saw. Hopefully we will see some success in protecting this wonderful species. Check out this link about the Sierra Club's campaign: http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/endangered-species/save-blandings-turtle


Steve Stockton

Jul. 9, 2010

10:49 am

I'm eager to hear how things turn out. Do you know what percentage of turtles get predated or if there's a helpful way to protect them. A notion that just crossed my mind is to place a heavy grill on rocks over the fire pit, suspended a few inches above the sand so the hatching turtles can get out when the time comes (or will this just shade the spot and stall development?)


Liann

Jul. 8, 2010

3:39 pm

Here's some more information about Blanding's turtles from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR): http://www.rom.on.ca/ontario/risk.php?doc_type=fact&id=317&lang=en It looks like the Blanding's turtle is listed as a species at risk. (To check if a species is considered at risk, you can check out this MNR page: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/2ColumnSubPage/276722.html) Also, if you see a species at risk or think there's one on your property, the MNR wants to hear from you. For more information, go to this page on their site: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_168357.html


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