Hatchlings Are Here!

We are pleased to introduce Saugeen’s newest addition…

In collaboration with the Bruce Peninsula National Park, we currently have 18 turtle nests protected at various locations on Saugeen First Nation.  The first snapping turtle hatchling made an appearance on September 4, 2019!  This little one arrived a little earlier than we were expecting.  Thank you to Sharon and Kelsey, and other community members for keeping an eye on the nest boxes, for reporting this information to us.  We went out and checked the other protected nests and there have been no further signs of hatching.  We estimated that the hatchlings would start appearing mid-late September.

We are looking for volunteers to help us monitor the nests now that hatching season is upon us.

The hatching process for turtles can take more than two hours, and oftentimes the whole clutch of eggs doesn’t hatch at once.  Generally, a nest would have approximately 20 eggs. Snapping turtle hatchlings are about the size of a looney and their shells haven’t hardened completely.  Hatching turtles have a yoke sack attached to their belly that can feed them for up to four days, so don’t reach into the nests to pull turtles out before they are ready.

If you want to help, you can check the turtle nesting boxes to see if any hatchlings are emerging yet. There is one nesting box on French Bay Road, one on Service Road and the rest are on Scotch Settlement Road.  The nest boxes are now numbered 1-18.  When you check a nesting box, double-check the cut out part of the box is pointed towards the wetland and away from the road, so the hatchlings leave in the right direction. If there are hatchlings emerging from the nesting box, you can take them and put them in the nearest water, either one-by-one, or you can gather them in a pail with some water in the bottom and take them all over at once.

If possible, please remember to wear gloves when you pick up the turtles. As well, take photographs or video and send it to Janna Chegahno or Doran Ritchie (contact information below), so they know which nesting boxes are starting to hatch.  Please include the box number, date, and time of day with your picture/video.

Be safe! Always be aware of passing vehicles when checking nesting boxes.  Please do not remove turtle nesting boxes.  We will go out and collect the boxes after hatching season is complete.

Please take extra caution driving in the areas of the nests now that hatchlings are beginning to emerge!  If you find a turtle on the road, please move it to the closest water source in the direction that the turtle was moving toward.

Although these little turtles are incredibly cute, please do not remove them from the wild.  Turtles have a very keen sense of direction and are quite territorial.  If a turtle is removed from its natural location it is unlikely that it will survive if it is released to a different area.

Contact Doran Ritchie or Janna Chegahno for more information:
Janna Chegahno – Indigenous Liaison, Bruce Peninsula National Park – janna.chegahno@canada.ca (226-668-6809)
Doran Ritchie – Infrastructure and Resources Manager, SON Environment Office – d.ritchie@saugeenojibwaynation.ca (519-374-9210)

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