Lochaber Area Wood Turtle Sighting
Under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act, the wood turtle was, in the year 2000, classified as vulnerable, meaning that there is concern for their future in Nova Scotia. There are scattered populations of these turtles around the province, and Lochaber is on the fringe of a populated area, centred along the St. Mary’s River.
A few years ago, while walking my golden retriever along the west side of Lochaber Lake, I noticed that something had caught her attention in a weedy part of the ditch along the road. When I checked it out, there was this turtle which was certainly not a snapping turtle as is commonly seen along the road during their nesting season. I described the turtle to a neighbour who is a Dept. of Natural Resources employee and he identified it as a wood turtle. He also made the interesting comment that snapping turtles prey on wood turtles.
The bottom line: There are at least a few of the scarce wood turtles in the Lochaber area. If you should come across one, it should not be disturbed. There are even web sites where people are encouraged to report sightings. If one Googles Wood Turtle Nova Scotia it lists numerous sites which provide a great deal of information on these, rare to Nova Scotia, turtles. For those interested in finding a site to learn more about them without getting in too deep, a good starting point is www.annapolisriver.ca/downloads/wood-turtle-poster-2011.pdf. This page provides a good introduction to wood turtles including excellent pictures.