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Lay off snapping turtles

Toronto Sun

November 29, 2011

By Antonella Artuso

TORONTO - Maybe a makeover would help.

The Snapping Turtles’ fearsome looks and reputation may be the reason that it remains a targeted “game reptile” when all other turtle species are protected by hunting bans in the province, Ontario Nature Staff Ecologist John Urquhart said.

But those snaps are just an attempt by the creature to compensate for a small undershell, he said.

“If you flip it on its back, that turtle has no defence at all,” he said.

Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller called Tuesday for a temporary halt in the harvesting of Snapping Turtles pending further study of the designated “species of concern.”

A recreational fishing licence allows the holder to harvest two Snapping Turtles a day.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has no idea how many are being harvested and whether the population has been able to replace itself, the report says.

The turtles take 15 to 20 years to reach sexual maturity and most of their offspring fail to hatch out of the egg, let alone make it to adulthood, the report says.

Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle, who is relatively new to his portfolio, said he will look into the issue of the Snapping Turtle.

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