Like I said last week, my knowledge of turtles is minimal. But as I continue to work at the KTTC, I am learning so much.  For example, did you know that out of the eight species of native Ontario turtles, seven are considered Species at Risk? I found this information quite shocking. Turtles have been around for millions of years, and yet here in Ontario they are disappearing rapidly.

Painted Turtles are the only native Ontario turtles not yet listed as a Species at Risk

So what is happening to make such an impact on these hard-shelled creatures? Habitat destruction due to urban sprawl plays a huge role. Put simply, we are taking away the turtles homes and replacing them with shopping malls, subdivisions and highways. Even in rural areas, roadways divide the natural habitat, making it essential for turtles to fight traffic just to find food or nest.

Why did the turtle cross the road?

As work at the new location continues, Kate thought it would be a great idea to draw attention to the dangers turtles face on roadways. In order to paint a clear message, she has painted a road across the floor of our education centre. To cross the room, visitors must cross the road, just like the turtles must to do in the wild.

This seems incredibly appropriate seeing as most of the injuries seen at the KTTC are from the roads. Even when drivers try to avoid hitting them with their wheels, the turtles’ shells are often struck by the underbody of the car causing fractures in their shells.

A Blanding’s turtle that was struck by a car is recovering at the KTTC

The road through the education centre is not only meant to remind visitors of the dangers, but also the ways they can help. Something as simple as assisting one turtle across the road can have a huge impact on the population as a whole. Just don’t forget to make sure it is safe for you and the turtle before attempting to move the creature. And of course, remember to slow down and look for Turtle Crossing signs just like the one above Paddy’s new home at the KTTC.

Until next week!


Intern Laura