An introduction to Ontario's snakes

Blue racer (Photo by Joe Crowley)

Blue racer (Photo by Joe Crowley)

Here in Ontario, the most common snake I’ve come across is eastern gartersnake, quite often in my own backyard. Around two weeks ago, I went hiking with a friend and saw two small gartersnakes slither near the trail. While my friend...

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It’s turtle time!

Blanding's turtle (Photo by NCC)

Blanding's turtle (Photo by NCC)

Anyone who drives the winding, hilly roads of Ontario’s Frontenac Arch is familiar with the picturesque views of forest rolling along granite ridges, lakes scattered across the landscape, diverse wetlands and the potential for wildlife...

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Blanding’s turtle: A lesson about life in the slow lane

Blanding's turtle at Emma Young Property, Frontenac Arch, ON (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Blanding's turtle at Emma Young Property, Frontenac Arch, ON (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

I think many of us need a reminder to slow down. With a ground speed maxing out at only a few kilometres per hour, the only option for a Blanding’s turtle is slow. Although it takes them a long time to travel throughout their extensive home...

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Turtles: Canada's culture in a shell

Blanding's turtle, Frontenac Arch Natural Area, Ontario (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)

Blanding's turtle, Frontenac Arch Natural Area, Ontario (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)

It was a gloomy day in southern Ontario. Although the canoe I paddled in was quiet, the landscape — filled with croaks and chirping — was anything but. Three metres away, a small creature emerged from the glass-like water to stretch...

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This St. Patrick's Day, defy convention and celebrate snakes

Queen snake (Photo by Joe Crowley)

Queen snake (Photo by Joe Crowley)

For many of us, Saint Patrick is known as the protector of the rolling hills of Ireland. Every year, people around the world join in celebrating his legendary story. The green beer, shamrocks and other verdant regalia synonymous with St....

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Keep your eyes peeled for turtles

A baby snapping turtle, estimated to have hatched the morning when this photo was taken, spotted travelling from a busy four-lane road in Newmarket, Ontario. (Photo by Aileen Barclay, program manager for Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust and forest education specialist with the Regional Municipality of York)

A baby snapping turtle, estimated to have hatched the morning when this photo was taken, spotted travelling from a busy four-lane road in Newmarket, Ontario. (Photo by Aileen Barclay, program manager for Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust and forest education specialist with the Regional Municipality of York)

Each year, from May until July, Ontario’s freshwater turtles leave the wetland or water body where they live and look for nesting sites. This means they often have to cross roads to get to their destination. Some turtles even see the...

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15 fun facts about Canadian snakes

Massasauga rattlesnake (Photo by Aaron Goodwin)

Massasauga rattlesnake (Photo by Aaron Goodwin)

Whether you're a snake savant or a citizen scientist, it's the time of year that our slithery friends are out and about. Here are some interesting tidbits about our native snake species to share with your friends: In Canada, the...

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Tales of recovery: Greater short-horned lizard

Greater short-horned lizard. (Photo by Leta Pezderic/NCC staff)

Greater short-horned lizard. (Photo by Leta Pezderic/NCC staff)

I’ve been lucky to have seen many reptiles that are at risk in Canada. I started my ecological career at Point Pelee National Park counting Blanding’s turtles and map turtles. I’ve seen queen snakes poke their heads through the...

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Tricks in disguise: Fools and facts in nature

Self-portrait of a Celebes crested macaque female (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Self-portrait of a Celebes crested macaque female (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

A friendly exchange of practical jokes and hoaxes often poses no harm, especially on such a day as April Fools’ Day. But there are some real tricksters in nature that will fool even the most attentive eyes and ears. On April Fools’...

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Don’t forget to brake for snakes

The western rattlesnake. (Photo by Stephanie Winton)

The western rattlesnake. (Photo by Stephanie Winton)

The Okanagan Valley, a hot spot for many at-risk species, is located in the south-central Southern Interior region of British Columbia. It is home to 185 wineries, many golf courses and fruit orchards, and an incredibly diverse landscape that...

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