December 26, 2008

Snapping turtles decline in Ontario

Snapping turtles in Ontario are on the decline and at risk because they don't mate until they are 15 years old, say Canadian officials.

The provincial government has named the snapping turtle a species at risk over concerns they produce few offspring and have a high mortality rate, The Toronto Sun reported Friday.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is to assess the turtle's situation during the next year, said Barton Feilders, a ministry spokesman.

Snapping turtles have a wide range in the region, but because they mature at such a late age, the loss of one specimen has a big impact, Feilders said, noting the turtles' habitat can be hurt by human activity and by inclement weather that washes out nests of eggs.