If you found an injured turtle please call the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre at 705-741-5000
If you found a turtle (even if it is dead) within the Lake Simcoe Region, the District of Muskoka, or Parry Sound please help to contribute to recovery science and call or text the Turtle Hotline at 705-955-4284. They will dispatch a biologist to take important measurements of the turtle.
The Turtle Guardians program does not condone keeping turtles in Ontario. Most turtles cannot be handled or kept without special government permits. Turtles can become distressed when removed from their natural habitats and home ranges. Most turtles attempt to return home (it has been researched and proven that turtles have internal biological navigation systems in their brains and also use the sun as a navigation clock). Some turtles will exhaust themselves trying to return to their homes and annual hibernation sites.
If they are native turtles, do not feed the turtles or give them water. For injured turtles keep them warm and dry in a well ventilated container. If not injured, we recommend returning the turtles to the nearest safe point to where they were found.
But here are more basics from colleagues in Texas:
A great fact sheet from our partners at Scales Nature Park:
Removing turtles from wild populations reduces the number of turtles in a population and reduces the potential breeding population, therefore affecting the next generations for all time.
Turtles are protected under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the Endangered Species Act in Ontario and the Species at Risk Act in Canada. Also turtle nest sites of Threatened and Endangered species are protected under this legislation as Critical Species At Risk Habitats. In Ontario, fines for handling, removing turtles from nature, or harming turtles can reach $25,000.00.
While turtles are scavengers and help clean our water, removing dead and decaying matter that in turn support our health, turtles themselves, and especially when in captivity, can contract and carry salmonella. Therefore just in case, when you touch a turtle to help it cross a road, it is always important to wash your hands!