turtles & habitats

Turtle Factsspotted-resized Turtles are reptiles and ectothermic ("cold blooded") so their body temperature is the same as the environment that they are in. Reptiles are the most imperilled species in the world. This is because they are what biologists call "K Strategists": They live a long time and have low recruitment of young (few offspring). Turtles also take a long time to mature until they can reproduce- up to 15 years. Survival rates of nests and hatchlings are low:

  • Many mammals love to eat turtle eggs and dig up nests;
  • If temperatures are too cold, the eggs won't hatch and
  • if just slightly cool,  most of the hatchlings will be males (no breeding females);
  • if nests hatch, the young need to find water and while searching around are a eaten by birds,
  • if they find water they are then predated by fish,
  • so that it may take up to 80 years of egg-laying to have one successful recruit.

Most of the turtles on the road are females that are going to their annual nesting sites, so when a turtle is hit and killed on the road, we lose the next generation of turtles that it would take years to produce. Turtles like to eat dead stuff at the bottom of ponds, lakes and wetlands- they help keep the water clean Snapping Turtles do not snap in water- they don't like the way people smell or taste- people are too big to eat-and they are fast swimmers. Snapping turtles will swim away from you before they would think about snapping. Snapping turtles are the only turtles without a plasteron (under-shell) that is big enough to hide in- so the only way to protect themselves on land is to snap. First Nations call the earth "Turtle Island". This is because every turtle has 28 ridges around its carapace (top-shell) and there are 28 days between each full moon; and because every turtle has 13 scutes (ridges) on their carapace, and there are 13 full moons every year; and finally because each turtle has 7 parts (legs, arms, tail, head, and shell) and there are 7 Grandfather Teachings for living a good life.

Turtle nesting facts

nesting chart

Upload: Nesting chart

Wetland Facts

Wetlands are nature's kidneys- they are vital in regulating water levels and cleaning water. Wetlands are habitats where water stands for more than 45 days of the year and therefore the dead leaves and debris turn into organic soils and plants that grow in wetlands are water-loving unique plants. Organic soils in wetlands act like sponges to hold on to water during floods and to release water during dry-times. Wetland plants and soils together filter water and take up pollutants and excess nutrients out of water, keeping water clean. Wetlands are essential habitats for over 70% of Ontario's species. Large mammals, frogs, birds, fish, and insects all use wetlands at some critical stage in their life- and wetlands are some of the most diverse and important habitats in the world. There are 4 main wetland types in Ontario: bogs, fens, swamps, and marshes. Wetlands are found at the mouth of rives, along rivers, shores of lakes, in isolated pockets surrounded by upland habitats, or in a string of connected habitats.