Midland painted turtle populations are threatened by habitat loss, especially in rapidly developing urban areas. When Earth Rangers Members choose to protect the midland painted turtle through the Bring Back the Wild program, they will help support a significant wetland restoration project at Habitat Pond on Toronto Island, ensuring suitable habitat for midland painted turtles and other wetland creatures. Learn more about the project
Need more reasons to help the painted turtle? Here are five!
1) They hold the world record for holding their breath.
Since painted turtles hibernate underwater, they can hold their breath for up to five months! These turtles can hold their breath longer than any other air-breathing vertebrates in the world.
2) You might have seen one in the wild.
Painted turtles are the most common turtles native to North America so if you happen to see a turtle sitting in the sun near a pond, chances are it was a painted turtle. There are four types of painted turtles living in North America: Midland, Western, Eastern and Southern. These turtles look a lot alike but there are some small differences that can help you tell the Midland Painted Turtle apart from the rest: they have light grey markings on the bottom of their shell and they are the only painted turtles found in Quebec and Southern Ontario.
3) Their life is hard right from the beginning.
It can be tough to grow up without someone to take care of you but that’s life for a baby painted turtle. They are on their own from the moment they hatch because their parents don’t stick around to raise them. Females lay their eggs (about 15 at a time) in a freshly dug nest, covering them with sandy soil and when she’s done, she abandons them. But before she leaves, she also digs a few fake nests to distract predators from the real nest so the eggs can hatch and the babies can get to safety.
4) They have armour but it can’t protect them against everything.
A turtle’s shell is pretty amazing and offers protection against predators because they can’t bite through it. Unfortunately, it can’t protect turtles from one of their biggest threats: cars. As our cities get bigger and bigger, turtle habitat gets smaller and smaller and the habitat that’s left is being cut up by roads. As strong as a turtle shell may be, it’s no match for a speeding car if the turtle get hit crossing a road. And despite what you might have seen in cartoons, a turtle can’t take off its shell because it’s part of its body, so a cracked shell can mean death for a poor turtle. That’s why we’re creating turtle habitat away from roads.
5) They need your help!
The Painted Turtle might be the only one of Ontario’s eight turtle species that is not officially at risk, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need our help. They are threatened by the same things that have caused other turtle populations to decline. If we don’t help them now, it won’t be long because they start to disappear too.
The Bring Back the Wild Painted Turtle Project is proudly supported by: