We had an outstanding fourth year rescuing at-risk turtle eggs!
In Ontario, turtle eggs are laid in June. Turtles will often use the edges of roads as nesting habitat. Road shoulders are often exposed to full sun, making them warm enough to incubate eggs. They also have soft gravel in the shoulders, which is an ideal nesting material for turtles.
The majority of the eggs we collected were from the sides of roads.
This year, eggs were collected from Moose Deer Point First Nation and six municipalities: Township of Carling, Seguin Township, Township of McKellar, Municipality of McDougall, and the Town of Parry Sound.
We partnered with Moose Deer Point First Nation whose staff and volunteers worked alongside Biosphere staff 3-4 evenings per week to carefully collect turtle eggs that were most often laid on the shoulders of busy roads.
The number of eggs in each nest varies from turtle to turtle and from species to species; biologists can find anywhere from one dozen to over 60 eggs in one clutch!
Once eggs were carefully collected from nests, they were transported back to our turtle lab. Caring for turtle eggs is very technical. Our biologists have the expertise and permits to collect and care for turtle eggs. We have specialized incubating equipment to keep the eggs at a specific temperature, as well as categorize and weigh each egg.
Eggs begin to hatch in early August and continue into September. Turtles are self-sufficient from the moment they hatch. Biologists monitor each one to ensure its health and after a few days, they are released into the closest water body to where they were collected.
This year, over 1,700 eggs were collected and over 1,500 hatchlings released. Sometimes the turtle eggs we collect have not been fertilized. Four species of turtle eggs were collected: Midland Painted, Eastern Map, Common Snapping, and Blanding’s Turtle. Since 2020, we have rescued over 8,900 turtle eggs. All eight turtle species in Ontario are at-risk either federally or provincially, making this project important to their population and well-being.
How You Can Help!
- Always obey the speed limit and keep your eyes open between May and October, when reptiles are likely to be on the roads.
- If it is safe to do so, you can help reptiles across the road. Read our guide for helping turtles on roads.
- You can submit your own observations of wildlife on roads to our iNaturalist project.
- Become a Biosphere Member or consider a donation. Turtle egg rescue requires a lot of resources, gifts of any amount help. Thank you for making a difference!