30+ Year Old Snapping Turtle

Toby, the male 35-lb, 30+ year old snapping turtle, was our most talked-about guest. A gentle creature for a snapper (snappers appear aggressive when threatened because they cannot retract their limbs, head or tail into their shell like other species).

Toby was found at Dow’s Lake Arboretum. A passerby noticed Toby on land with what appeared to be an injured tail. It turned out that Toby had prolapsed private parts—he could not get his private parts back where they belonged. Dr. Auger from Carling Animal Hospital remedied the situation and Toby spent the summer with us recuperating.

Turtles really have their own personalities — Toby had a great appetite and would raise his head out of the water and stare at us to let us know he was hungry (snappers spend most of their time under water and don’t bask in the sun like other species).

Release day for Toby was pretty special — with a bit of a crowd looking on, he swam out gracefully, then came briefly back to shore as if to say thanks or “where’s my fish?”

In 2012, our second year of working with turtles, we admitted abut 30 turtles, compared to 32 in 2011. With seven of the eight native turtle species in Ontario listed as species at risk, saving even one turtle can make a difference. Sadly, less than 1% of turtle eggs and hatchlings survive to adulthood.