What to do when turtles are in your garden

Katie Sinkowski of Port Dover has placed turtle nest covers in her garden to protect turtle eggs. Delhi News Record

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A Port Dover resident paid close attention to a snapping turtle digging holes in her garden earlier last week.

“Throughout the day I kept going out to see what she was doing,” said Katie Sinkowski.

The turtle spent from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 10 in the garden nesting and laying eggs before it left.

Sinkowski wanted to make sure the nest and eggs would be protected.

A few years ago she noticed a turtle nest cover in a neighbour’s yard, so she knew that’s what she wanted for the nest in her garden.

Sinkowski drove out to the Long Point Provincial Park where she was able to pick up two nest covers and a pamphlet on how to properly cover the nest and watch the eggs. The covers were provided by the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve.

Rick Levick, president at the Long Point Biosphere, said they started providing the nest covers in the summer of 2018 after seeing that they were successful in other areas. They have 24 covers available this year.

The Sinkowski family has just recently moved into their home, so this is their first year experiencing the turtles on the property. They plan on contacting the previous owners to ask about their experiences regarding the turtles.

“When she was laying the eggs she knew I was there but she didn’t get snappy or anything. A couple days later there was another female that came up and she was getting a little snappy when I walked by,” said Sinkowski.

The edge of their property meets with the Lynn River, making it a perfect spot for turtles to nest. There are more turtles closer to the water, but because of rising water levels the turtles are trying to nest on higher ground.

“The nesting areas in the marshes are inundated with water,” Levick said. “They (nests) turn up on people’s lawns and gardens, and that makes them pretty easy targets for predators.”

Sinkowski has seen predators in the area.

“I’ve seen lots of raccoons, and there are coyotes out here too,” said Sinkowski. “It’s pretty important to keep them protected. I’m hoping because she did it so close to the house that they’ll be safer.”

Levick said anyone that spots a turtle nesting on their property is able to go to the Long Point Provincial Park to pick up one of the covers. The covers are free of charge, but they need to be signed out and returned once the eggs have hatched.

“We just appreciate that if people borrow (the covers) that they return them in the fall,” said Levick.

 

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