Turtle crossing a road

It’s turtle season and we are reminding you to slow down and watch out for turtles near or on roads. Turtles like to nest in the gravel on the shoulder of our roads and it’s up to us to help keep them and their babies safe.

Of the eight turtle species native to Ontario, all but one are considered to be at risk of extinction. A main threat to turtle populations are roads. Turtles also take a long time to mature and reproduce; the death of even a single adult turtle can have an impact on the entire population. 

How you can help

  • Watch for turtles on the road - especially in spring and fall when they are moving around through their different habitats. Watch for turtle crossing signs and slow down when driving through natural areas.
  • Help them across the road – if safe to do so - make sure to always help them in the direction they are already going, or they might just cross back over the road again. If a female is actively laying eggs on a roadway, leave her alone since any attention will stress her and affect her nesting behaviour. 
  • Never hold a turtle by the tail - This is part of their spine and will cause them grave injury. Instead, hold a turtle firmly by the back of its shell, or use an object such as your car mat, or a box or shovel to carefully help them cross the road. 
  • Be particularly careful with snapping turtles - they don’t know that you’re helping them and will try and protect themselves by biting or scratching you. Report turtle sightings to Ontario Nature or download their app. You can also report injured turtle sightings to the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre (705-741-5000) or to Scales Nature Park in Oro-Medonte (705-327-2808).
  • Share what you’ve learned with others - word of mouth is a powerful tool and together we can all make the roads safer for turtles.​

 Learn more!