Reptiles of Huron County
Huron County has a mix of aquatic and terrestrial habitats that support over 10 snake and turtle species, including some that are rarely found elsewhere in Canada. No venomous snakes are found in Huron County.
At the HSC, two priority species are the Queensnake and Eastern Hog-nosed snake. Did you know that Queensnakes eat only freshly molted crayfish? Abundant crayfish in the Maitland River support the largest Queensnake population in Canada. Eastern Hog-nosed snakes on the other hand, prefer to eat toads and live near our sandy beaches.
Reptiles across the globe are declining at an alarming rate. Ontario is home to 24 reptile species–more than any other province or territory–but 75% are in danger of disappearing from the wild. All turtle species in Ontario (and there are eight!) are now listed as species-at-risk, and many snake populations are steadily declining.
Turtles in Ontario are rapidly declining as a result of inflated predation rates, road mortality, habitat loss, and illegal collection for the pet trade. Many turtles are not able to lay eggs until they are nearly 20 years old, so the loss of even one adult can have a major impact on local populations.
How you can help
Wetland habitat in Huron County is a fraction of what it once was, so every effort to help can make a huge difference. If you see a turtle on the road, safely move it across in the direction it is heading. We have no venomous snakes in Huron County, so all snakes can also be easily moved off of our roads. If you find an injured or sick turtle, contact the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, Canada’s largest turtle hospital. Please also report your sightings to the 'Herps of Ontario' project on iNaturalist. All reported sightings, even reporting of common species, will increase our knowledge of Ontario’s reptiles. Photo: J. Mullen.
Snakes and Turtles
Photos: J. Ferguson (Milksnake & Brown snake)
Photos: J. Crowley (Queensnake) , J. Mullen (Hog-nosed snake)
Photos: J. Mullen