Snapping Turtle in Ontario Canada Rescue

Snapping-turtle-wildlife-rescue-Ontario

Rescuing an injured Snapping Turtle on the Trans-Canada Highway

Please watch for turtles on the road, especially from May thru July!

Snapping Turtle in Ontario Canada - My husband and I rescued an injured snapping turtle while driving the Trans-Canada Highway from Sudbury to Toronto on the May long weekend. We were driving home from visiting family in Sudbury when I noticed traffic slowing down ahead and oncoming vehicles were avoiding something in their lane just north of Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.

As we drove by, I saw a large snapping turtle in the Northbound lane. I quickly decided that we needed to make a U-turn and try to get it safely off the highway. We turned around and parked near the turtle with our Emergency Lights on. Thankfully, the cars we saw managed to avoid hitting it. I waited for a break in traffic and moved the turtle to the side of the road.

Rescue of a Snapping Turtle in Ontario Canada

This was on a small section of highway between Toronto and Sudbury that is still being converted into a divided highway. Traffic was heavy due to it being a long weekend and with only one lane in each direction, there wasn't much space to avoid the poor turtle.

I am not sure if this turtle was female, but it's likely it was and she was trying to find a place to nest and lay her eggs. Finding turtles on the road happens quite often between late May to mid-July so please keep an eye out for them.

I wasn't consciously thinking that I needed to keep my fingers away from its face, but instinctively picked up the turtle gently from the rear of its shell. Snapping turtles have a strong bite so it's important to stay away from their mouth. Unfortunately, we noticed that the turtle had a crack in its shell with some blood seeping through. Now this had turned into a more serious situation. We needed to get this turtle some help!
Rescuing an injured Snapping Turtle on the Trans-Canada Highway. Photo credit Diana Johnson-Santos. 
Trans-Canada Highway, Point au Baril Ontario (approx. 10 mins from where we rescued the turtle). Photo credit Diana Johnson-Santos.

We Rescued a Snapping Turtle - Now What Do We do?

Where we rescued an injured turtle on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Thankfully, another couple also turned around to help. Joanie & Gary are Conservation Photographers and knew exactly who to call.  Additionally, Joanie's mother, Jennifer, is a founding member of the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and spent many years of her life dedicated to animal welfare.

The Sanctuary was 45 minutes away in Rosseau, Ontario and said we could bring the injured turtle there. They asked us to note where we found the turtle in hopes that it could be returned there once recovered. 

Now we had to figure out how to transport it safely. We didn't have any boxes in our car, however, Joanie and Gary had a shopping basket that was just large enough. Gary carefully picked the turtle up and placed it in the basket.  Finally, we were ready to drive to the Sanctuary.

There's lots of helpful info on the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre website about what to do if you find an injured turtle.

The Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

After rescuing an injured Snapping Turtle on the Trans-Canada Highway, we brought it to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. A not-for-profit organization that has been around since the 70s. They take in hundreds of animals each year and have more than 30 permanent wildlife residents. 

Two young ladies met us at their intake cabin. We filled in a form, asked to be contacted with any updates and made a small donation. If you are able, please donate to help them continue their important work.

They are a Turtle First Response Centre and a turtle specialist told us that their recovery rate is quite high. We are keeping our fingers crossed for the turtle we rescued and felt grateful that someone was there to help on a Holiday Monday.

Due to its injuries, we were advised that the turtle would most likely be transported to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough, Ontario the next day.

Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. 
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary Intake Cabin. 

The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough, Ontario

The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough works with Turtle First Response Centres across Ontario.

They have a turtle hospital and you can call them at 705-741-5000 if you have found an injured turtle anywhere in Ontario.

Additionally, they have information on how to help an uninjured turtle. And, what to do if you find a turtle's nest or eggs. You should even report a deceased turtle. If it's female they may be able to hatch the eggs. Or, use it for research.

At the present time, Ontario has 8 different turtle species. The snapping turtle was added to the Species at Risk in Ontario List on September 10, 2009. If you are able, the OTTC is another great organization that would value any donation you can provide. 

Taking the Backroads Home and an Ice Cream Treat in Hunstville Ontario

Going to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary took us off Hwy 69 and our usual route home. Being adventurous, we decided to drive the backroads through beautiful Muskoka and stopped in Huntsville at Belly Ice Cream for a treat. They have all-natural crafted artisan ice cream. The hardest part was picking only 2 flavours! Check out my Belly Ice Cream Photo Album for more info on our visit.

Belly Ice Cream - yummy artesian ice cream. Photo credit Diana Johnson-Santos.

In Conclusion ...

I am glad that I made that split-second decision to turn around and rescue a Snapping Turtle in Ontario Canada on the Trans-Canada Highway. It became more serious once we discovered that the turtle was injured.

Consequently, that decision connected us with a like-minded couple, Joanie & Gary. Introduced us to two wonderful organizations that are helping turtles and wildlife. And, by going off-route we discovered a new favourite ice cream shop! 

Snapping Turtle in Ontario Canada on the Trans-Canada Highway

 Our adventure saving an injured snapping turtle on the Trans-Canada Highway. 

Location (Map)

Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary - Home, 1116 Crawford St, Rosseau, ON P0C 1J0, Canada
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Comments 12

Cary Horning on Friday, 26 May 2023 00:43

Bless your heart Diana for helping that turtle! Hope he or she has a full recovery!

Bless your heart Diana for helping that turtle! Hope he or she has a full recovery!
Lisa Muldoon on Friday, 26 May 2023 20:03

What an adventure! I've come across a few turtles on my bike and in my car and helped to move or redirect them to the side of the road for safety. Thanks for the information on what to do if we come across an injured turtle!

What an adventure! I've come across a few turtles on my bike and in my car and helped to move or redirect them to the side of the road for safety. Thanks for the information on what to do if we come across an injured turtle!
Diana Johnson-Santos on Saturday, 27 May 2023 01:03

update on our rescued turtle:
A turtle taxi picked up the injured turtle 2 days later.
They took it to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre's Turtle Hospital because it needs special facilities for recovery.
We are hopeful that it will be feeling better soon!

update on our rescued turtle: A turtle taxi picked up the injured turtle 2 days later. They took it to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre's Turtle Hospital because it needs special facilities for recovery. We are hopeful that it will be feeling better soon!
Rene Coatta on Saturday, 27 May 2023 23:42

Oh my heart, you guys are incredible for doing that!

Oh my heart, you guys are incredible for doing that!
Diana Johnson-Santos on Sunday, 28 May 2023 13:43

Rene, I didn't really think about it - HAD to turn around. Couldn't leave it there like that.

Rene, I didn't really think about it - HAD to turn around. Couldn't leave it there like that.
Diana Mohrsen on Sunday, 28 May 2023 05:05

What a heart-warming story. So glad you stopped and that there are organizations already in place to help turtles and wildlife.

What a heart-warming story. So glad you stopped and that there are organizations already in place to help turtles and wildlife.
Diana Johnson-Santos on Sunday, 28 May 2023 13:45

Diana, that's why I wrote the story. To highlight the organizations that can help. Hopefully, more people will know what to do and stop to help!

Diana, that's why I wrote the story. To highlight the organizations that can help. Hopefully, more people will know what to do and stop to help!
Kim Kenyon on Monday, 29 May 2023 04:36

Way to go! So glad you and your husband and the other kind couple were there to help and I hope your snapping turtle heals well enough to be released into the wild again. Good advice to watch for turtles at this time.

Way to go! So glad you and your husband and the other kind couple were there to help and I hope your snapping turtle heals well enough to be released into the wild again. Good advice to watch for turtles at this time.
Sonya Richmond on Sunday, 04 June 2023 15:45

This is such an important and informative article! Thank you for sharing, and of course, for stopping to help nature! Fingers crossed for your rescue. I used to volunteer at the Turtle Trauma Center in Peterborough, back when it was still very small and just beginning. It was (and I'm sure still is) an amazing place. Both at home and when travelling, it is so important to help protect our beautiful natural world.

This is such an important and informative article! Thank you for sharing, and of course, for stopping to help nature! Fingers crossed for your rescue. I used to volunteer at the Turtle Trauma Center in Peterborough, back when it was still very small and just beginning. It was (and I'm sure still is) an amazing place. Both at home and when travelling, it is so important to help protect our beautiful natural world.
Diana Johnson-Santos on Thursday, 08 June 2023 12:28

Sonya, that's really cool that you volunteered there. They named our rescued turtle "Fiesty' and he is doing well. Thank goodness!

Sonya, that's really cool that you volunteered there. They named our rescued turtle "Fiesty' and he is doing well. Thank goodness!
Cora Lee Rennie on Monday, 05 June 2023 23:45

Oh my gosh Diana! I love snapping turtles - and all wildlife and nature really! Thank you so much for helping this animal pm the road to recovery! You’re an amazing human!

Oh my gosh Diana! I love snapping turtles - and all wildlife and nature really! Thank you so much for helping this animal pm the road to recovery! You’re an amazing human!
Andrea Horning on Monday, 12 June 2023 13:11

You are amazing! Ontario is such a thriving place for turtles in Canada, I remember helping quite a few across the road in my time around Peterborough. I miss turtles! Thanks for saving this beautiful baby

You are amazing! Ontario is such a thriving place for turtles in Canada, I remember helping quite a few across the road in my time around Peterborough. I miss turtles! Thanks for saving this beautiful baby
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