Nature Canada

8 Things to do this Summer: As told by Canadian Turtles

There are roughly 320 species of turtles around the globe and Canada is home to 8 species of freshwater turtles (and 4 species of marine turtles). That’s a fair amount considering that turtles are reptiles, hence cold-blooded, so you wouldn’t think that they would inhabit Canada’s naturally colder environments. Well they do! Turtles may hibernate for a chunk of they year, but come April/May to October, they are out and about, doing their favourite pasttimes. This here is a list of things to do this summer as told by turtles!


like Spiny Softshell Turtles! If there’s one odd-looking turtle, it’s got to be the Softshells. These are a group of turtles that have a flattened leathery carapace due to the lack scutes (turtle term for scales) and elongated nostrils into tubular cavities. They have an aquatic lifestyle and can be seen submerged under water with their snout out for air.


like the Snapping Turtles! Now Snappers are definitely the foodies of the bunch. They are active omnivorous hunters so they aren’t picky eaters. Snapping turtles are quite large with robust carapaces. They have flexible necks and powerful jaws to snap-snap at food items.


like the Eastern Musk Turtles! These little guys love to spend time in slow moving creeks and ponds. If it’s got vegetation, all the better since then musk turtles can snack and swim!


like the Painted Turtles! One of the most common species, they sure like the sun. They can be seen in groups lined up on logs soaking up some rays on beautiful sunny days. This also makes for a great photo opportunity from afar!


like the Blanding’s Turtles! Probably the secret to their longevity since these turtles can live past 70 years old! They are known to wander from their nesting sites for good long walks of exploring and foraging.


like the Wood turtles! These turtles got their name from their shell’s appearance as they age. Unlike other species, they don’t shed their scutes so wear as it ages resembling wood. They also have an active hunting method; stomping the earth! This stimulates juicy worms beneath to come out and voila lunchtime!


like the Spotted Turtles! These turtles are most social of the bunch. Females can be seen in groups for nesting sites, basking, and hibernating.


like the Map Turtles! You see, turtles know how to stretch! Map turtles can be seen with stretched out limbs and necks as they bask in the sun. And they can hold their position for long periods of time that can make any yoga master jealous!

Now, before you get all ready to turtle this summer, there are a couple of more things to keep in mind.

All 8 species of Canada’s freshwater turtles are in need of our help! It is getting harder to them to be turtles when their habitats are decreasing, their homes are being polluted, and more roads with fast cars are causing fatal injuries.

Next time you see a turtle crossing sign on the road, slow down and keep an eye out for a nature walker! If you need to move it for its safety, move it in the direction it was going in!

For more tips on how to help turtles – read our most recent blog post on saving turtles.

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Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.