It’s peak turtle nesting season now until January and those living near or travelling around Cockburn’s lakes and wetlands are urged to be on the look-out for the native freshwater reptiles, especially during stormy, rainy weather.
During the cold front on Monday 11 October, City of Cockburn staff and dedicated Turtle Tracker volunteers spotted more than 60 female Southwestern snake-necked turtles making their way out of Walliabup-Bibra Lake and Manning Lake to lay their eggs in sandy soil.
Sadly, some were hit by cars and attacked by raven, but most were ushered towards safe nesting spots, and nests protected by temporary cages during the laying event.
Research efforts by the City of Cockburn have shown nesting females commonly make their move in cold front weather conditions, where a sudden drop in temperature and barometric pressure, plus the onset of rain, follows a period of high humidity.
City of Cockburn Environmental Education Officer Vicky Hartill said the next en masse nesting effort was predicted for this Sunday, 17 October and into early next week as a new cold front weather pattern arrives in the Perth metropolitan area.
“We urge everyone to drive slowly on roads near lakes and wetlands at this time to help protect the turtles,” Mrs Hartill said.
“Please also be aware of our staff and volunteers working in these areas to give this ‘near threatened’ endemic species the best chance of survival at this really critical time. And feel free to give them some assistance.
“It’s also important that people keep their dogs on leads in areas where our turtles live, including Yangebup Lake, Harmony Lake, Jubilee Park and Market Garden Swamp, at all times. Some females will move on warm sunny days, too so please be aware.”
What should you do if you see a turtle on the move:
- If it’s on the road, safely move it off in the direction it was heading. Stay with it if you can
- Keep them safe from raven attack and other birds trying to dive bomb and injure them
- Take any injured or dead turtles to WA Wildlife opens in a new window(formerly Native ARC), 172 Hope Road, Bibra Lake. Eggs can be retrieved for incubation
- Turtle hatchlings can be taken straight to the water
- Keep a box and towel in your car for turtle season
- Log sightings on the TurtleSAT opens in a new windowapp.
Community members can call our Turtle Tracker Coordinators on 9411 3444.
Visit the City’s Turtle webpage opens in a new window
to find out more about the local species.
Vicky Hartill and son Rhys with a Southwestern snake-necked turtle.
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