Turtle nests: What you should do when you find them on your construction site


Ontario Construction News staff writer

A family of turtle hatchlings has been placed back into their natural habit by City of Kawartha Lakes construction workers.

In late August, while working on a road project in Dalrymple, staff from the engineering division discovered a turtle nest located on the construction site.

They carefully uncovered the eggs and placed them safely into a box to be transferred to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, located in Peterborough.

The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre monitored and incubated the eggs for the remainder of the gestation period. Staff were then notified that the eggs had successfully hatched and were ready to be returned back to the original nesting area on Avery Point Road.

According to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, hatchlings only have a 1% per cent chance of surviving to breeding age, showcasing the importance of having successful offspring. Ontario has eight different species of turtles, most of which are endangered or at risk of becoming endangered.

Odds are that each turtle must nest for several years, or even decades, before it replaces itself.

If you find a turtle nest on your construction site:

  • Do not dig up or move turtle nests or attempt to incubate the eggs yourself – as you may damage the eggs and it is illegal to take wildlife into captivity or disturb the nests of endangered or threatened species.
  • Do not cover the nests – eggs are incubated by the warmth of the sun and shading the nest may slow or stop development and placing an object over the nest to keep predators out can trap babies inside.
  • Do watch for hatchlings from late August until snow and again in spring. Incubation periods vary between 60 – 90 days depending on the weather. In a warm year, eggs develop faster and may hatch as early as mid August. In a cooler year, they may hatch later in the fall. Also, painted turtles that hatch late in the fall may stay underground the entire winter and not emerge until the following spring.


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