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Old June 9th, 2008, 11:46 PM
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It seems that my property is a hot spot for a few of Ontario's Species at Risk. Today this Five-lined Skink made an appearance



And just 2 days ago this Blanding's turtle found it's way here as well






We also usually see a few Eastern Hognose snakes each year, which is another SAR. All of these species are reportable, the MNR wants to keep a database on where they are and keep tabs on their status.

Considering the time of year, the turtle was likely a female looking for a nesting spot when she wandered right up to our house. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a better picture of the skink. It surprised me and I didn't have the camera handy. Came out the front door and saw a tail disappear over the edge of the front porch. It looked like a snake's tail, but snakes don't just launch themselves over the edge of things and drop to the ground, so I went down the steps at the side and around the front. The skink was just sitting there, clinging to the wall and didn't move. I sent my daughter inside for the camera, but by the time I had it, and was ready to shoot the skink had moved to where it was partly obscured by the plants. That was the only shot I got before it completely disappeared. I'll be watching for it from now on though.
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Last edited by Gail P; June 9th, 2008 at 11:59 PM.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 11:49 PM
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A couple more turtle shots



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Old June 9th, 2008, 11:56 PM
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that's so odd...i wouldn't think a turtle is a wild animal in Canada. I saw a couple by the canal where I live too. Strange. Where do they sleep in winter?!
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Old June 10th, 2008, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jiorji View Post
that's so odd...i wouldn't think a turtle is a wild animal in Canada. I saw a couple by the canal where I live too. Strange. Where do they sleep in winter?!
We actually have quite a few turtles in Canada. Besides the Blanding's there are also the snapping turtle, midland painted turtle, spotted turtle, wood turtle, stinkpot, mud turtle, and map turtle. Those are off the top of my head though there may be more that I'm forgetting. I should know as I did take Fish & Wildlife in college, but that was several years back now and I never did pursue it as a career. The Blanding's, spotted and wood turtle are all considered to be species at risk and as such are reportable.

In the fall turtles dig down into the mud to hibernate for the winter.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 12:15 AM
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I've never seen any turtles around here but we do have skinks. They have bright blue tails when they are young. The cats are always bringing them home to show mom.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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Gail great photos. I hardly ever see turtles anymore. Here in Pa. growing up as a child, I saw hundreds of these guys but now on our own little farm in the 4 years we have been here I have not seen one. We have lots of woods and natural water so I am surprised not to see any.
I think the skink would really startle me to see one...you are alot braver than me.
Thanks for sharing the pics. The turtle brought back some fond memories.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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WOW - you are fortunate to get these critters - looks like they know where to go for a safe rest! Great pictures of them too..
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Old June 10th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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Wow, nice photos. Awesome that your property is a little bit of wildlife sanctuary.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 11:02 AM
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That skink is really pretty.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 11:11 AM
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Wow ! That is too cool ! but I'm glad the little reptile is at your place and not mine
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Old June 10th, 2008, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FancyAppy View Post
.
I think the skink would really startle me to see one...you are alot braver than me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchy View Post
but I'm glad the little reptile is at your place and not mine
As a kid I was always into stuff like snakes, frogs, salamanders, caterpillars etc. Loved to go mucking about the swamp at the lake to see what I could find. I have to admit though, even I get a little start when I come out my front door to go down the steps and a snake quickly slithers away. That happens a lot, we have lots of garter snakes around. The snakes themselves don't bother me at all, even to handle, I think it's the sudden movement that I'm not expecting that makes me jump.

My neighbour used to be bothered by snakes around her house, and would often kill them. Once she saw me handling them though and that there's really nothing to be alarmed about it's helped to ease her fears. That and education about the more rare species. A lot of people call a hognose snake a "puff adder" and think it's dangerous so they kill them on sight. They are not really an adder (which is venemous and does't live around here) but people seem to find them threatening because of their looks and actions. They are a very thick-bodied snake (like venemous snakes often are) and can grow quite large, plus they will put on a display when they feel threatened. The mimic a rattlesnake by vibrating the tip of their tail (but have no rattle, though they may make a rattling noise in dry leaves) and they will rear up and hood out their neck like a cobra. If all that doesn't work to scare off a predator (or human), they will then roll over and play dead, writhing in apparent death throes and even hanging their tongue out of their open mouth. Really they are the most interesting snake I know of. We often find smaller ones around here so they are obviously established in our area and breeding. Now that my neighbour is not as fearful of them she will scoop them up on a shovel and bring them over to my side of the road, away from her house.
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Last edited by Gail P; June 10th, 2008 at 12:21 PM.
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