What are turtle tunnels?

Turtle tunnels come in all shapes and sizes and are what ecologists call "eco-passages". These features are designed to direct turtles under roadways as opposed to over roads.

Turtle tunnels limit the significant threats to turtles posed by road traffic by directing turtles under roads.

The basic features of turtle tunnels are the same: a fence to direct turtles and an underpass (tunnel) to move turtles under roads.

Fence installation. copyright: Kari Gunson
Fence installation. copyright: Kari Gunson

The Land Between region is home to more than 1/3 of Ontario's turtles. The major threat to turtle populations by humans in road mortality (second are poaching and the pet trade).

To ensure turtle populations can survive and hopefully too, rebound from recent losses, The Land Between charity aims to install as many turtle underpasses (fences and tunnels) as possible across the region's high risk roads - and as quickly as possible.

We have gathered and supported research and pilot trials across North America to make sure we can succeed in saving turtles.

Now we can put in these underpasses effectively in suitable areas- and efficiently using the existing road culverts.

While using culverts are the first available solutions, there are many more sites that exist where turtles cross roads: Here were are looking for new ways and infrastructure to save turtles and other wildlife; to make roads less hazardous and more "permeable" to wildlife.

Old culver used as fencing for underpass. copyright Kari Gunson
Old culvert used as fencing for underpass. copyright Kari Gunson

2 Replies to “What are turtle tunnels?”

  1. Hi, so if we go looking for egg-laying turtles, and find one or more, what’s the best way to protect the eggs & nest? Dig up the eggs and incubate elsewhere? Put some sort of fencing over it? (what type?) Leave it alone and let the raccoons have a feast? thanks…Rick

    1. Hi Rick,
      It is not recommended to disturb nest sites and for most turtles (at risk turtles) this is illegal without a specific permit from the OMNRF. We recommend putting a turtle nest protector cage over the nest site (made with 2in chicken wire screening that is 2ft by 2ft square and 6 inches high) so that the little hatchlings can escape when ready, and so that the paws of foxes and others cannot dig up the nests.
      The design is on our website under conservation.

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