Saturday 25 June 2022

Turtle mitigation barriers

We've been worried about turtles for a long time in Ontario. We've often stopped to help them cross the road. This was our 2019 trip to Muskoka. We spotted 22 turtles seeking habitat crossing the highway. Many people help turtles across the road. You have to send them along in the direction they were headed. 

I read an article online: Victory for Eastern Ontario's Freshwater Turtles. We'd see these new barriers all over the place. That was where we first spotted the barriers on our local travels. 

Wonderful volunteers watch for nesting sites, and cover the nests. Raccoons are notorious for uncovering snapping turtles eggs and eating them, as well as other predators. 
People are protecting nests (FB)

 The big problem is that they get run over by cars. We were traveling in a high-risk area for turtles, Highway # 62. Their council came up with an idea for mitigation, we spoke to a local man who was out working on his lawn. It was $192,000 for his section of turtle fencing. The homeowner said they'd seen more on the road than ever before the barriers were put in. He even had a mix of turtles on his front lawn. The turtles go around the fence, and end up in a u-shaped ending. There are culverts under the highways at certain spots, as well, I wonder if they actually review the results.

You'll note the various styles of fencing. 

Highway #7 Sept. 20/21.

Turtle fences on Moodie Dr., Ottawa.

We spotted some more on Highway #15 out of Beckwith, June 11th, 2022.

Turtles are nesting in different habitats from where they hibernate in winter. I found what I think was a turtle nest uncovered by a critters on the path down to the meadow. I'm fairly certain it was a turtle nest! JB found a shell like this on the driveway. I am not certain they survived. It will remain a mystery. The raccoons... ???

We have a variety of turtles here. Most of our 8 species of turtles in Ontario are at risk on the continuum: special concern, threatened, or endangered. The 9th, eastern box turtle, is considered extirpated in Canada. 
There are videos to help you do this safely with snappers!

There are lots of reasons they are at risk: habitat loss, pollution, poisons (mercury, DDTs), road mortality from humans, natural predators hunting them, slow maturation rate (i.e., snappers can't lay eggs until ), plus illegal human activities. 

Blandings Oct. 26, 2012

While a lot of try to avoid them on the highway, sometimes it isn't possible. Snappers are 'special concern'. Snappers can live to be 100 years old.
Snapping turtle laying eggs. They bite! 
The reason they bite is because they cannot pull their heads in, unlike other turtles.

Painted Turtles

Northern Map Turtle
I leave you with the mother of all turtles. She's been a favourite of mine after discovering her in our former Bala lake. She was the size of a coffee table, and I canoed around her. It was quite eerie. She totally ignored me, sunning herself on a Monday after a busy Bala tourist weekend. 


eileeninmd said...

The turtles fencing is interesting. I hope it saves the lives of the turtles.
Great post and photos. I have seen some huge snapping turtles. The Painted Turtle is my favorite. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

Marco Luijken said...

Hey Jennifer,
What a good post with the attention of these turtles.
They have many problems when they would crossing the way. Let's hope all comes well.
Your pictures are very nice.

Many greetings,

Jeanie said...

We don't see a lot of turtles here, although I know they exist. The last one I saw was two or three years ago, slowly crossing the road at the lake. People are very careful of them. This is very interesting, Jenn.

Linda said...

Lots of barriers up in our area, the black plastic kind

Mae Travels said...

So much endangered wildlife... so little time!

I hope this project is a success, and I also hope there are better times ahead for many other species. Global warming is the elephant in the room (and elephants are in trouble too).

best... mae at

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Great turtle shots! I like the turtle on the log. It's a perfect shot.

RedPat said...

I would have never known that was what those fences are for.

Jenn Jilks said...

@Linda, I think the black plastic is to prevent erosion and protect the wetland!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

That's cool that money is being spent to help save the tortoises.

William Kendall said...

The fencing sounds like it has merit.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We love our turtles here in Florida too and hope they stay safe. We see one on the road every once in awhile though. Good post and good things to know.

DeniseinVA said...

I have never seen turtle fencing before, such a great idea. I enjoy our local turtles very much and we see a lot of snappers. My sister-in-law lives near the ocean and she recently went through training to take care of the many sea turtle nests that are found on the beach. She and a group of other volunteers babysit these nests, taking turns day and night, and when they hatch make sure they make it down to the ocean. I really admire that kind of dedication. I enjoyed your post very much Jenn, thank you for sharing photos and the info.

The Furry Gnome said...

Nice to see the turtle fencing expand!

Elizabeth Edwards said...

i love your header shot. nice!! so fun. i enjoyed your views today. hope u r well. enjoy the rest of your weekend. take care. ( ;

Shiju Sugunan said...

Excellent pictures! Hope they are saved. Recently an elevated highway was built across a forest in India which doesn't hinder the animal movement.

River said...

Are the fences to stop turtles crossing the roads? Then how are they supposed to get where they need to go?

Jenn Jilks said...

I think the assumption is they need to stay where they are, River!

Karen said...

My dad used to talk about American hunters? fishers? coming up to the Kawarthas to kill snappers. My dad said Rice Lake was full of Huge ones when he was a boy. These human predators almost eradicated the poor things.

Divers and Sundry said...

We have a lot of turtles here, and though I see seasonal instructions on how to help them across road I've never seen barriers like this. Cool!

Lowcarb team member said...

First time I'd heard of turtle fencing ...

All the best Jan

Cloudia said...

Thanks for doing your part and this interesting post