New Blog

Friday, January 6, 2012

Visit our new blog, now integrated into our website, at


Feature Volunteers: Valérie and Stellah

Monday, December 5, 2011

We were extremely lucky this year to again be selected as a host work placement for two Canada World Youth Students! Valérie Savane and Stellah Mokiwa volunteered three full days a week for the last nine weeks and are now moving on to the next stage of their program – all the way to Africa!

Valérie, a Canadian from Quebec, couldn’t wait to get her hands dirty working with the turtles! Her enthusiasm was contagious. She would arrive each day ready to conquer any task – regardless of how mundane it might be. While she would tirelessly spend hours entering data, we would always make sure that there were turtles that needed to be clean and/or fed. Valérie would always do that little bit extra, like mopping the floor or disinfecting a tank, while using her amazing creativity to leave lovely turtle doodles around the centre for everyone to enjoy.

Stellah, an African from Tanzania, was not quite so sure about turtles at the beginning. While she was apprehensive, as where her fellow Tanzanians, she realized that someone had to step forward to take the position. She bravely accepted the position and arrived with incredible optimism. Realizing that we were going to have to sell her on turtles, I explained how healthy turtle populations can help contribute to keeping our water clean. Her interest was sparked and she took to her new role with great gusto. By the end of the nine weeks Stellah was in love with turtles - she now wouldn’t hesitate to chop up worms for the young hatchlings or pick up a 20 lb snapping turtle!

Thank you, Stellah and Valérie, for all of your incredible hard work and dedication to the turtles!


KTTC Welcomes New Coordinator

Friday, November 5, 2010

Coordinator Kate Siena's contract is coming to an end, and while we're sad to see her go we wish her well on her travels this coming winter. The KTTC welcomes Lynda Ruegg as the new part-time volunteer & outreach coordinator for the winter months. The funding for her contract has been generously provided by a grant from Johansen-Larsen Foundation.

Lynda has been involved with KTTC since 2007. She has extensive experience as a turtle care volunteer and has also assisted with various outreach & fundraising events. She is passionate about turtles and has been involved with various projects such as turtle habitat restoration, turtle research, and working with Leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica. She attended the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association Conference in 2008 and the Chelonian Conservation Workshop at the Toronto Zoo in 2009 to gain knowledge and connect with experts in the field. She is excited about this new opportunity with KTTC and looks forward to meeting and working with all of you.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Crossing Sign in Port Perry

02 Nov, 2010

Every day KTTC volunteer Leslie Burritt drives through Port Perry on her way to and from work. The town is located on the shores of Lake Scugog, and every spring hoards of turtles hoist themselves out of water to lay their eggs on nearby sandy banks. Leslie became concerned about the many turtles she came across killed by vehicles while trying to cross the road or lay eggs on the shoulders of the road.

This past summer she approached the Township of Scugog with a proposal to erect turtle crossing signs at three major roadways leading into town. The council forwarded her proposal to the appropriate authorities, stating their support to those responsible for the roads in question. The Ministry of Transportation governing provincial highways were to meet this past fall with advisors to discuss the possibility of crossing signs on the Hwy. 7A causeway but as yet, no decision has been passed along. However, Durham Region responded very quickly and within a short time made a commitment to install signs on Reach St. (a regional road). The signs were erected within the last month. The KTTC commends the Region of Durham for their commitment to raising driver awareness of sensitive turtle crossing areas!

For more information about installing crossing signs in your own area contact the Toronto Zoo's Adopt-a-Pond Programme.

Update: Leslie received a letter from the Ministry of Transportation, dated Dec 3, that the ministry is developing a policy associated with signing for smaller animals on provincial highway facilities. The working group is nearing completion of a draft policy for internal review within the next few months with approval anticipated by mid 2011.


Over $2600 raised at Oct 16 Dog Walk

Monday, October 18, 2010

Preliminary results indicate that the Oct 16 Dog Walk for Turtles raised over $2,600!

Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support for the KTTC. We beat our goal of $2000! Final results will be posted here soon!

Check out photos taken by our volunteers!
If you have pics to add please email them to us at

Be sure to check out the Examiner's photo album too!

Prizes were awarded for:

  • highest pledge amount raised: Darlene Dove ($352)
  • smallest dog: Dolly (17 pound Dachshund)
  • largest dog: Freya (105 pound Newfoundland)
  • youngest dog: Sadie (4.5 months)
  • oldest dog: Tramp (14 years)
  • youngest walker: 3 year-old Claire who walked with Roxy
    runner-up 12 year-old Jacey who accompanied Sadie
  • best-dressed dog: 4-way tie between Lily, Frank, Chester & Katie

The KTTC would like to thank the following event sponsors:


Oct 16th: Dog Walk for Turtles

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We hope and your four-footed best friend will join us Saturday, Oct 16th, 12pm-3pm at Peterborough's Jackson Park to help KTTC help turtles.

Prizes will be awarded following the run for:
highest pledge amount raised, smallest dog, largest dog, and best "reptilian" costume.

Cost and Registration:
There is no minumum pledge amount to participate, but the more pledges you collect the closer we will get to our goal of $2,000 for the event. This amount will help us cover one's month's rent - but if we can raise more that's even better!

Pledgeforms, directions, posters & more on our website!<.p>


Admissions Continue

2010 has been a busy season - but unlike turtles we do not take a break to hibernate over winter! This year we have had 18 batches of turtle eggs hatch at our centre, with the last batch hatching as you are reading this. Many have already been released back into the wild, but it is too cold to release those that are hatching this late.

Although nesting season is the peak of admission, we are still busy admitting turtles well into the fall. In the past few days we have a badly injured snapping turtle on it's way in from a wildlife centre near Sudbury, and painted turtle admitted with an abscess on its face.

This past week we also admitted our SECOND Stinkpot of the year!. This is a species we do not often see at our centre. Stinkpots, or Eastern Musk Turtles, are ranked "Threatened" by both the provinicial & federal governments.

Blanding's Turtles, like the one pictured above, are also a Threatened species. Although still relatively common in the Kawarthas they are not common across Ontario and are in fact Endangered in the maritimes. Visit the Ministry of Natural Resources Species at Risk page to learn about species at risk in your part of Ontario.


KTTC welcomes the Canada World Youth

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

KTTC would like to welcome Canada World Youth Volunteers back for the second year in a row! Stellah and Valerie will be volunteering at the centre 3 days a week. They will be helping with a variety of tasks around the centre, including caring for the turtles, distributing the fall edition of the Kawartha Turtle Times, and creating a map of locations where injured turtles have been found.


Fall Events

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Come visit the KTTC at the following events. We'd love to meet you!

Fall for the Rouge Affair

Saturday Oct 9th
Rouge Valley Conservation Centre
1749 Meadowvale Road
Join us on Saturday October 9 and Fall for the Rouge. Come and meet local flora and fauna experts, take part in our fall hike through the Rouge and admire the changing colours, and learn all about nature photography from the photography experts from Henry’s Photo • Digital • Video. Take part in our photo contest, stay for a BBQ lunch and listen to local group Social Potion. Details to come.

October 15th and 16th
Haliburton School of the Arts
Drop in for a day of discovery. See presentations from historians, conservation groups, landowners, and scientists. Learn about local ecology, history and culture. $10 at the door. Students under 18 are free. For more information contact


The Story of Baby Turtles 1, 2 & 3

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Have a turtle story to share? Pass it along and we'll post it on our blog. This story was submitted by a local resident who helped return baby turtles hatched at the KTTC to the wild.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 was release day for baby turtles 1, 2 &3.Painted Turtle Mom had been found injured on the road in May by good friend Laurel McCauley and transported to the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre. Mom did not survive her injuries however the Centre x-rayed MOM and discovered 9 eggs.

Eggs were extracted from Mom and 3 little Turtle babies survived!! As I live in Peterborough, Laurel asked me to transport the turtle babies back to Haliburton to the lake where she found MOM to help with the release. I was so thankful to be part of the turtle rescue/release team!

So we got the call that babies were ready for release on what turned out to be a perfect sunny September Saturday! We also found out that the release happens quickly. Kate from the KTTC told me the babies were feisty and ready to go – she was so right!

Turtle #1 went on the log on the shore of the lake where Mom lived, hunched inside shell then all of a sudden – everything popped out, head, tail, legs and with a little plop, that turtle was off swimming wholeheartedly and happily into the lake …

We were better prepared for release of turtle babies 2 & 3! You will see them sitting on the log also looking out on the lake taking in their first look at freedom! I swear their little heads popped up when Laurel was telling them NOT to go on the road like MOM had!

Turtle babies 2 & 3 did not enter the lake in the same dramatic fashion that Turtle baby #1 did – they kind of slid off the log into the water – however they were very happy to be in the water as well!! And so off they went with the 2 “adopted” human Moms looking on very proudly – one of us (me) a bit worried about that little one swimming off into the lake however Mom Laurel very wisely pointed out that turtles have been doing this for many years! So Mom Jill had to practice letting go ….The whole release process probably took about 1 minute if that!

What an honour and privilege to release these beautiful and magical beings back to the lake where MOM lived. They knew they were home and to see these little turtles experience their first taste of home and freedom was a truly amazing and humbling experience and something I will never forget.

Thanks to friend Laurel for rescuing MOM Turtle! Thank you to Kate and everyone at the Kawartha Trauma Centre for caring about turtles and taking care of babies until they can be released! I will never pass by an injured turtle again without stopping to see how I can help!

~ Adopted Mom Jill N. Jones (photos by Laurel McCauly)


A New Home for our Animal Ambassadors

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dustin Milne, from Calgary, has been visiting Peterborough for the summer and happened to find out that we were looking to build a special turtle enclosure. Dustin’s experience is in set building for musical performances, but through this work he has become a talented builder with a highly creative mind. He was able to get materials donated and create a masterpiece that we are thrilled with. We can now invite people to the centre to show them our public education area with live turtles on display!

Blandella, our resident non- releasable Blanding’s turtle, has spent the last three weeks in her new, lavish, enclosure and is settling in well. Andrea, another non-releasable Blanding’s turtle that is blind, is going to be moved in shortly.


120 Turtles and Counting!

So far this season we have admitted over 120 turtles into our care. Most of these were adults that have been injured on our roadways. Adding to this total are the many, many babies that are currently hatching! One clutch of 51 snapping turtle eggs had 47 successful hatchings! All 47 were released back into the area where the mother was found. We also have 10 Blanding’s turtles busy hatching, and a number of painted turtles from several different clutches.

The adult turtles that are not ready for release by autumn will stay with us for the entire winter to recover. Painted turtles that hatch later in the season often overwinter in their nest, so the late hatching eggs that are still incubating at KTTC will also stay in our care until the spring.

KTTC Needs Your Help!
As many of you know, our expenses increased dramatically last year when we lost our donated space. Our monthly operating costs now average about $4,000/month. Please consider supporting the KTTC by making a donation, and letting your friends, family and colleagues know that we need their help. As a registered charity we provide tax receipts for donations over $20. Donations can be made online through Canada Helps, or by sending a cheque to:

c/o Riverview Park & Zoo
PO Box 4125
Peterborough ON K9J 6Z5

If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor please contact Danica at


New Logo!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The KTTC is happy to announce that we have a brand new logo!

The logo design was generously donated by Logo Union.


Kathleen Chong's Creative Contribution

Sunday, July 4, 2010

KTTC volunteers & supporters are forever coming up with new ways to raise money for the turtles. Eight-year-old Kathleen Chong decided (on her own) to bake chocolate-chip cookies to sell to raise money for KTTC. She stopped by the centre on Friday after school with a dish of money ($29.41), a super-proud Mum, and a smile that could stop traffic!

Donations of any amount are always welcome at the KTTC. If you have a garage sale, bake sale, or some other fundraiser and would like to donate the proceeds let us know! Donations can be submitted online through, or contact us at or 741-5000 to make other arrangements.


66 Turtles Admitted to date

As always, June was a very busy month at the KTTC. Many of our patients are brought in during the month of June, the height of turtle nesting season. A total of sixty-six (66) turtles have been admitted so far this year! We'd like to thank the Riverview Park & Zoo, Sherbrook Heights Animal Hospital & Toronto Wildlife Centre for their continued support and assistance with admissions.

This June also saw the 1st 5km Run for Turtles. The day was a wet one, but over 60 runners and lots of kids came out and raised over $2500! Those who missed it can still catch a glimpse of the wonderful turtle spirit through photos taken by The Examiner. Congratulations to event organizer Danielle Tassie and all the volunteers who helped out - the final final results will be released soon!


The Nursery Ward

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The majority of turtles hit by cars in the in the spring and early summer are adult females on their way to nest. This means that many of the females that are admitted to the KTTC are "gravid", or carrying eggs. Many of the patients drop their eggs during their stay with us. Weplace artificial nesting boxes filled with sand in their enclosures to make this experience more comfortable for them.

At the moment we are incubating over 160 eggs from Snapping Turtles, Blanding's Turtles, and Painted Turtles. Many of these were laid by patients that are still in our care. However 11 of these clutches are from turtles that didn't survive their injuries. The hatchlings from these eggs will be released at the very same location that the the adult was originally found.

We're often asked what turtle eggs look like. Snapping Turtle eggs (above) are spherical, about the size of a ping pong ball. The eggs of Blanding's Turtles or Painted Turtles (right) are more elongated.

Turtles do not sit on their nests or care for their young, so babies that we hatch at the centre do not need their parents to raise them. Most eggs in the wild are dug up within days of being laid by hungry raccoons, coyotes, or other predators. The eggs we hatch at the centre have a bit of a "head start" by being protected while they incubate.

In the wild, the mother turtle comes to land in the spring or early summer and digs a hole in a sunny spot. As the eggs are laid she uses her back legs to carefully place them one by one in the nest. When she's done she fills the hole back in and heads back to the water, and never sees her babies again. The eggs are incubated over the next 2-3 months by warmth of the sun. In late summer or early fall the eggs hatch and the babies dig their way out of the nest and find their way back to the water. Painted Turtles hatchlings sometimes spend their first winter in the nest, and can often be seen on their way to the water early the following spring.

You'll never see the eggs of a nest that is safely incubating, though at this time of year especially you may come across the remains of a nest that has been dug up by hungry predators. If you come across a nest that has been predated you will often find bits of shrivelled up shell scattered around the nest (below).

We sometimes hear of well-meaning individuals who dig up nests and relocate them, or attempt to incubate them at home. We would like to remind you that wild animals cannot be taken into captivity (even as embryos tucked inside an egg) without a license. If you come across eggs that have been dug up accidentally (as sometimes happens when landscaping) please replace the eggs or contact your nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitator to ensure that the eggs are properly cared for and have the greatest chance of hatching successfully.


Report Your Sightings!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Remember to report your turtle sightings to the Ontario Turtle Tally or the Ontario Reptile & Amphibian Atlas. Photos are a great way to confirm the identification of the species for these citizen science projects. The snapper pictured here was spotted nesting by volunteer Kim Clark near Ottawa - the distinctive spikes of this dinosaur-like tail are easy to spot!

The Reptile & Amphibian Atlas also welcomes sightings of any other amphibians and reptiles you may come across. People are encouraged to send in sightings of dead animals as well as live ones, as these still demonstrate the presence of the species in the area, and may also be useful for keeping track of road mortality hotspots.

Visit the atlas' website for more information on the species found in Ontario (including identification features & range maps), tips for searching for species, and online reporting forms, and lots more!


2010 Turtle Releases

Saturday, June 19, 2010

by Lindsay Robbins

Releasing is perhaps one of the most incredible adventures experienced by a KTTC volunteer. After an entire year of healing, many ups and downs and countless hours of hard work its nothing short of miraculous to get the opportunity to return these amazing creatures to their natural environment where they will do what they do best; survive! We take in turtles from all across Ontario and must always keep in mind that a turtle must be released within a kilometre of where they were originally found... Here are just a few of the releases done by the KTTC this year, we are pleased to share their stories with you.



Mojo was brought in by a concerned citizen from Mallorytown, ON, July 2008 with a severely fractured carapace (top shell) needing extensive hardware and extra healing time :) Mojo's "smiling" Blanding's face was well known by the KTTC husbandry volunteers as she was always quite inquisitive. Mojo spent two long years at the rehab centre and was finally given the "go ahead" by Dr. Carstairs for her journey home to begin.

I had never been to Mallorytown, although am now a huge fan of it's phenomenal scenery and breathtaking shorelines. It was quite easy to find a suitable release spot for Mojo as there were many bodies of water close to the original recovery spot. After finding the perfect area we released Mojo in the water where she simply seemed to enjoy her surroundings. She pause for a short while, almost unsure as to what to do next until we observed a fish swim underneath her. She must have felt the vibration and disappeared within a few seconds.


Polly is a Blanding's Turtle that was brought in to the KTTC after being struck by a vehicle and found by a concerned citizen along Hwy 7. After examination Polly was diagnosed with an injured eye and a fracture to the right side of her carapace. Polly remained at the trauma centre until this year, when she was given the OK to go home.

Polly was released near her original capture site at a beautiful wetland in a VERY remote area, it was a great spot and a pleasure to watch her swim into the sunset :) Polly is well known at the centre as the "ostrich" turtle, she could always be found basking on her rock with only her head in the water looking straight down to the bottom of her tank, like an ostrich in the sand. We wish Polly many succesfull nesting seasons, and hope she will help sustain the Blanding's Turtle population in her part of the province!


Marie is a Snapping turtle brought in to the KTTC from Norland, ON where she was found on the road, severely injured and not moving. After examination by Dr. Carstairs, it was discovered that Marie had a broken jaw and was in need of some medical attention. Marie's jaw was wired together for better healing, and now she is as good as new and able to eat once again :)

Marie's was a great release, as I was assisted by two local Norland residents who showed me all the good "turtle hangouts"! She found a great spot, some new duck friends and an area flooded with her species.


Caraman is a young, or immature, male Snapping Turtle found injured in a parking lot south of Peterborough. Caraman was only just brought in to the KTTC this season, and made a speedy recovery to the small wound on the top of his carapace. When w returned to the original capture location we searched for a suitable release spot but were told by two onlookers that there were in fact NO bodies of water in the area. This is one of the problems that can arise when releasing as turtles may travel quite a far distance.

As the sun set we began to hear a chorus of frogs singing in the distance, a sure sign of water nearby :) As if it were meant to be, we looked to the North and found a pond, although there was no direct path, and to get there we would have to make our way through thick brush and VERY unstable ground ... we were two female volunteers, both in dresses ! As KTTC volunteers always do, we rose to the occasion, slid our hip waders over our beautiful dresses and began our trek. After about 10 minutes we made our way through the last bit of brush before seeing water, we both looked at each other to sort of say; " this view is going to take our breath away" . We were right! As we made our way through it was stunning natural wetland in every direction as far as the eye could see, definitely much larger than we had first expected. It was one of those rare moments in life where you marvel at mother nature and her ability to prevail, and no one even knew it was there ;) A pleasure to take part in!


Wally is a small male painted turtle, found north of Peterborough, with a smashed shell and dragging one rear leg.

Wally's release was another case of "where is the water"? After exploring for quite some time we were worried that there might not be ANY water close to the site where he was found. If we know nothing else of turtles it's that they have an amazing ability to overcome obstacles and find a way to survive. As we began travelling a local road we could see what look like a pond in the distance. We approached the area and found a beautiful body of water! The plants were high and we were only able to see the water for ourselves by holding up a digital camera, Wally on the other hand, found the water quite quickly. He was released by Eva, a KTTC volunteer on her first ever release trip :) GOOD LUCK WALLY!!


Igor is a feisty Snapping turtle, found injured on the road trying to bite at the underside of cars as they drove over her, one after the other. A young couple travelling in the area witnessed this sad scene and was determined to help - and they did just that by bringin her into the KTTC! Igor was examined and found to have a large crack on top of her carapace. She stayed at the trauma centre over winter and was given a clean bill of health this spring.

As a long time "snapper" volunteer, I must say it was great working with a turtle who not only snapped each and every time she was handled but never seemed to loose her fight, even with an injury :) She was released in what I like to call "turtle haven", which is when you find a release spot thats so incredible it gives you chills. The site was about one kilometre from where she was found near Buckhorn. Eva, a vet tech for the centre took pride in letting her go for the last time .. and surprisingly, as she was taken out of the holding take and placed into the water... without snapping :)


Summer 2010 Events

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rouge Valley Eco Exploration Event
Saturday, June 5, 2010
10:ooam - 3:00 pm
Rouge Valley Conservation Centre
Admission: suggested donation of $10.00

All are welcome to attend the 2nd annual Rouge Valley Eco Exploration Event, hosted by Citizen Scientists and Rouge Valley Foundation. Come and explore the Rouge and learn about the local flora and fauna from experts including Citizen Scientists, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Ontario Vernal Pools Association and Rouge Park to name a few. Come visit the KTTC station to learn all about turtles! For more information visit:

Peterborough Field Naturalists Present:
Guided Field Trip - Ontario's Reptile & Amphibian Atlas
Sunday, June 13, 2010
9:ooam ~ 3:00 pm Camp
Kawartha Environment Centre, Peterborough

Join the Peterborough Filed Naturalists to learn how to identify and search for amphibians & reptiles, and how to report your observations to the atlas. Atlas Coordinator Joe Crowley will give a slide show from 9am to 10am, then we will carpool to field sites to search for salamanders, snakes, turtles, frogs - and Ontario's only lizard the 5-lined skink!

Please bring a bagged lunch and plenty of water.
Questions? Contact Gina at

5k Run For Turtles
Saturday, June 26th, 2010
5:00pm (kid's fun run at 4:30pm)

$20 adult 5km run ($25
after June 16th) /$15 for the kid's fun run
Jackson Park, Peterborough

Register online: The Running Room
Download a pledge sheet, put up a poster

Join us for a 5km run (or walk) along Jackson Park’s trail. The kids can enjoy a short loop around the pond at 4:30 pm. Hopefully, if we are very lucky, we’ll spot some of the park’s resident turtles! All proceeds from the event will help support the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre & our turtle conservation and rehabilitation efforts. This event is all about the turtles & we encourage you to come dressed as YOUR favourite turtle (prizes for best turtle costumes!). Snacks & awards following the run. Invite your friends using our facebook event page.


Winter/Spring 2010 Newsletter

Monday, May 31, 2010

In this issue:
2009 a Success Thanks to Partners!
Spotlight on the Painted Turtle
Turtle Crawl Raises over $2000
Turtle Myths Busted
Focus on Volunteers: Canada World Youth
The Environmentally- Friendly Highway
The Turtles Thank You! And You! And You!
Our Generous Grantors

2009 a Success Thanks to Partners!
By Gina Varrin

2009 was a very exciting year for the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre (KTTC). We admitted over 65 turtles with the help of other wildlife rehabilitators, and a dedicated crew of volunteer "turtle taxi-ers". Initial treatments were performed at partnering centres, including Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC), former KTTC vet Kristy Hiltz's Sherbrook Heights Animal Hospital, Cavan Hills Vet Clinic, and Bowmanville Vet Clinic.

Once our centre was ready and the patients were stabilized, the turtles were transferred back to KTTC for long term care. Many were released in the summer or autumn, but those with more serious injuries are over-wintering at the centre, ready to be released this spring.

These partnerships were vital to the KTTC, without help from these centre we would not have been able to admit any turtles this past year.

The collaboration also helped build capacity at partnering centres, giving them the opportunity to gain more experience with turtle rehabilitation. Vader, one of the TWC's turtles, received a cataract removal from veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Joseph Wolfer, with the assistance of Dr. Carstairs, who works both at the KTTC and TWC. The procedure made national news, as it was the first reported cataract surgery performed on a fresh water turtle.

With 2009 behind us we’re gearing up for 2010’s batch of admissions. If you find an injured turtle please note its location, carefully place it in a well-ventilated box and drop it off to Riverview Park & Zoo between 8am – 4pm.
Vader, an aging Snapping Turtle, receives cataract surgery (photo: Scott Wight, Toronto Wildlife Centre)

Species Spotlight: Painted Turtle
By Jennifer Andrews

This season the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre is having an up close and personal look at the Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta). There are two subspecies of the painted turtle that reside in Ontario, the Midland Painted (Chrysemys picta marginata) and the Western Painted (Chrysemys picta bellii). The painted turtle is protected under Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which means that the turtle is ‘protected from being hunted, trapped, held in captivity or traded without a license.

This turtle is quite beautiful, with a dark to olive green carapace with yellow, orange and/or red along the edges of the shell. This bright appears ‘painted’ on, hence the name. The plastron is a bright yellow with a dark central blotch – the shape of which is unique to each individual turtle. The skin on the body (head, limbs and tail) is also a dark to olive green, with bright yellow stripes. They can reach a maximum length of 15cm, with females being larger than males, but males have longer claws and a longer, thicker tail. These turtles are highly aquatic, only coming ashore to migrate and nest. Painted turtles are commonly found in ponds, lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands.

These turtles love to bask (warm themselves in the sunlight), which is why they can be found in large groups basking on fallen logs and rocks. A painted turtle is not a picky eater, as its diet consists of snails, tadpoles, fish, insects, algae and submerged plants. Nesting season occurs in April and May with an incubation time of 80 days (hatching in August and September). Clutches can vary in size from 4 to 23 eggs, and turtles will typically only nest once a season.

There are both natural and human threats to these turtles. They are still wide-spread in Ontario and very common, but natural nest predation decreases the number of hatchlings, and society continues to encroach on their habitat. With roads going through their migrating and nesting habitats, there is an increase in road mortalities. Finally, as with many turtle species, they are popular within the pet trade, and are being taken illegally.

The Painted Turtle may not be a species at risk yet, but if we do not take care of the population we have, the tables may turn for this beautiful species.

Turtle Crawl Raises over $2000

On Saturday, November 7, 2009, the KTTC held its first ever Turtle Crawl Walk-a-thon. The event raised a grand total of $2, 237.20 - that’s almost enough to cover our operating expenses for an entire month!

Congratulations to event organizer Brooke Bays, and the rest of the KTTC fundraising team, for a job well done. And thanks to all who came out or made pledges to the walkers.
Paul Schortemeyer’s prize-winning turtle costume

Congratulations to prize winners:

  • Top Pledge - Tracy McNaught ($750!)
  • Runner Up – Steve Peterson ($135)
  • Runner Up - Fletcher Boultbee ($125)
  • Runner Up - Leslie Burritt ($85)
  • Most Laps - Kelsey Powell (12 laps)
  • Best Costume - Paul Schortemeyer

Thank you also to:
  • Don on the Job of Omemee for donating a port-a-loo
  • The Spill Café Bar for providing free hot chocolate
  • Trent Animal Science Club for yummy bake sale treats
  • Canada World Youth Volunteers who helped with everything from setting up the course to running the merchandise tent

For more pics see the original blog post.

Turtle Myths Busted
by Brooke Bays

While the old wives tell their tales, turtles continue to be misunderstood. Here are a few common turtle myths busted to help clear their reputation:

Blanding's Turtle hatching
Myth #1: Turtles raise their young.
On the contrary, newly hatched turtles are completely independant! In early summer the female turtle finds a nice spot to dig a nest where she will lay her eggs. She then covers the eggs with the surrounding debris, sand and mud to keep them warm. After the eggs are completely covered she leaves and does not return. The eggs are left to incubate for 40 - 90 days, depending on the species, and when the babies finally hatch they head to the water for safety and to feed.

Myth #2: Snapping Turtles “snap” because they are nasty, aggressive creatures.
Anything with a mouth has the potential to bite and will do so to eat or to defend itself. This is no different for snapping turtles, especially since they cannot fully pull into their shells for protection like other turtles. They have developed "snapping" as an alternative defense. In the water they have no natural enemies so they use their powerful jaws for eating only. However, treks overland can be very dangerous for a snapper. They use their “snap” to defend themselves when they feel threatened.

The Environmentally- Friendly Highway
by Kate Tucker

In the current economy, environmentally technologies are becoming more and more common and accepted. Green infrastructure is just one form of eco-friendly entrepreneurialism, and includes sustainable building, renewable energy or landscaping.

Another up-and-coming example of green infrastructure is known as an ecopassage. Ecopassages,are man-made wildlife corridors, built into highways or freeways to help wildlife safely cross high traffic areas without harm. Most models include several underpasses/tunnels of varying size and fencing that guides the wildlife to the underpasses.

Ecopassages help keep wilderness areas connected, preventing isolation, starvation and some breeding barriers. As with salamanders, these narrow tunnels can allow many species of turtle to move from wetland to upland habitat safely and without human interference.

Some could argue that these ecopassages act as funnels for predators, allowing them to simply wait for their prey at the end of the tunnel. Others could argue that such a change in infrastructure is costly and time-consuming.

Regardless, ecopassages seem to be popping up all over with the most extensive and most successful being in Canada’s Banff National Park.

Looks like there may be light at the end of the tunnel for our travelling turtle population!

Focus on Volunteers: Canada World Youth
by Gina Varrin

Since 1971, the Canada World Youth program has made it possible for more than 31 000 young people from 67 countries to have safe and meaningful international experiences, learn about other cultures, and contribute to the well-being of their own communities. Canada World Youth (CWY) is a world leader in the development of international educational programs for youth aged 15 to 25.

Volunteers aged 15-25 participate in a two-part program, with one phase in Canada and the other in another country. This is one of the most original aspects of the CWY model because it provides a perspective on how people live in both countries and fosters true dialogue between partners in the South and in the North. They work with countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

The CWY program advocates learning by doing, a model in which young volunteers learn by getting involved in communities in Canada and in another country.

This past year the KTTC was fortunate to host a pair of CWY volunteers at the centre. Frank & M.J. were a huge help, assisting with turtle care duties once a week from September until December.

The entire crew came out to help with the Turtle Crawl walk-a-thon in November: setting up the course, running the merchandise booth, and cheering on the walkers. In December the group held a fundraising farewell dinner to benefit the KTTC and a Tanzanian orphanage they volunteered at during the second half of their program. The dinner and silent auction raised over $500 for each charity!

The Turtles Thank You! And You! And You!

Wedding Favours for the Turtles
On their wedding day, Marion Killey & her groom donated to the KTTC in lieu of giving out party favours to guests. The couple's family have a long history of trying to help and rehabilitate injured animals. They decided that investing in the care of the turtles was the best way to thank their guests for helping them celebrate on their union. Their guests loved the complimentary bumper stickers and turtle information cards that the KTTC provided for the table settings.

KCVI Students raise $455!
This past autumn, two high school students from Kingston, Ontario contacted us asking to see if their Environmental Science Club could help fundraise for the KTTC. Emily & Taylor raised $75 at a silent auction, $135 at a bake sale, and solicited an additional $250 donation from the club to add to the pot. The students also did a presentation about the KTTC and their fundraising efforts for their classmates.

Freezer for the Centre
The turtle centre gives a big thumbs up to Donna Dummitt of Havelock for donating a freezer to the centre. Thanks to Lori Dunn, Todd Starr, and Nelson Matthews for moving it from Havelock to the Centre in Peterborough!

Donations over $1000!
o Beryl Carstairs
o Islay McGlynn
o TransCanada Corporation matched a $1000 donation made by Murray Samuel

The KTTC has received phenomenal support from existing and new partners in the past year:
o Seneca College, who allowed Dr. Carstairs to treat turtles at the college last summer free of charge.
o Many students from the Seneca Vet Technician program have also been a great help – some even spent their Christmas vacation sampling blood at the Centre.
o Toronto Wildlife Centre
o Dr. Kristy Hiltz and Sherbrook Heights Animal Hospital
o Bowmanville Veterinary Clinic
o Cavan Hills Vet Clinic
o Paulmac's Pet Food store in Port Perry
o Lakefield Animal Hospital

Cheers to CDMV for supplying veterinary supplies at a reduced rate!

Our Generous Grantors

The KTTC gratefully acknowledges the support of the following businesses and foundations for their generous support of our work!

Hagen Limited
Amount: $500 of in-kind donations
Hagen Limited has generously offered to donate $500 worth of equipment, such as UV lights and filters.

Metro Toronto Zoo
Amount: $1,000
A lot has changed since the centre printed its brochures in 2004. Thanks to the Metro Toronto Zoo the centre will be able to design and print new
brochures with updated information!

Ontario Trillium Foundation
Amount: $35,820
Volunteer-run since the very beginning, the KTTC is proud to announce that our first employee will be a volunteer coordinator! The Ontario Trillium Foundation has generously granted us funds to hire a staff person to coordinate volunteers & education efforts at the centre. A part of the grant will also be further develop our outreach programs.

Shell Environmental Fund
Amount: $4,975
Thanks to the generosity of the Shell Environmental Fund the KTTC has been able to purchase our own diagnostic and surgical equipment, including: doppler, surgical instruments, ambigbag, and endotracheal tubes. Acquiring our own laboratory and diagnostic equipment means that we can do more diagnosis and treatment in-house. Not only does this result in more training opportunities for animal are professionals, but it is also less stressful to the animals as it reduces the need to transfer them to other clinics for diagnosis and treatment.

TD Friends of Environment Foundation
3 grants totalling: $15,000
TD Friends of the Environment have been friends to the KTTC since the very beginning, providing numerous grants over the years. Over the past year they have provided us with three grants which have allowed us to buy food, medicine, UV lights and filters for the turtles.

Riverview Park and Zoo
Amount: $2,000 - 4,000
(plus frozen fish!)
One of the original founders of the KTTC, they have served as a drop-off location since the very beginning. They continue to provide support such as managing our membership list. They are continuing their support with additional funds for food and an in-kind donation of frozen fish to feed the turtles!

For more images from this edition visit our flickr account.
Rachel's famous turtle cookies


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