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Leave Richmond’s egg-laying turtles alone: Reptile Rescue

Leave Richmond’s egg-laying turtles alone: Reptile Rescue

Alan Campbell / Richmond News

If you see little turtles digging holes in Minoru Park this month, give them some space and don’t interfere.

That’s the message from Richmond-based charity Reptile Rescue, after a woman stepped in Monday morning to keep a crowd of people away from a momma turtle laying her eggs in Minoru Park.

Val Lofvendahl, founder of Reptile Rescue, said June and July is the time of year you’re going to see the reptiles laying their eggs in their self-dug holes.

And she added that the foot-long turtle helped by 78-year-old Diann McGrath was most likely a red-eared slider which, although obviously not native to Canada, are quite common due to people dumping them as pets when they get too big.

“They can survive here, though, and the Wildlife Act of B.C. now protects them, the same way it does for the dumped domestic rabbits,” said Lofvendahl.

“I’m not sure if the eggs will actually hatch, it may not be warm enough.

“But it wouldn’t do any harm to let her lay them in peace and leave the turtle alone.”

turtle
The momma turtle makes its way back to the pond after laying its eggs in Minoru Park on Monday morning. Photo submitted by Diann McGrath

McGrath said she was out in the park for her daily walk about 7 a.m. when she noticed a small crowd of people around something near Richmond Hospital.

“They were taking pictures, so I went over to look and here was this turtle,” said McGrath.

“I could see it was probably preparing to lay some eggs, as it was digging a hole behind it. One man wanted to put it back into the pond, but myself and another lady said ‘no, just leave her, she’s laying her eggs.’

“I tried to find a city parks employee but couldn’t. So I went to city hall, as I was worried someone was going to tamper with the turtle and the eggs.”

McGrath said the female turtle has the eggs buried now, but wanted to get the word out to people what to do and not to do if they came across a similar event.

“The man at city hall was very helpful and helped me contact RAPS and the Richmond Nature Park for advice.”

RAPS, however, told the Richmond News that they’re not even permitted to touch the reptiles and passed the enquiry onto Reptile Rescue.

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