Wild at Heart ready to release rescued snapping turtles

A group of approximately 25 snapping turtles is being released back into its habitat, the founder of animal refuge Wild at Heart says.

25 turtles will find their way back into their natural habitat

Wild at Heart Refuge is set to return a group of snapping turtles back to their natural environment after hatching them over the summer. (Wild at Heart Animal Refuge)

Approximately 25 snapping turtles are being released back into their habitat, the founder of animal refuge Wild at Heart says.

Rod Jouppi told CBC News that members of a construction crew working near Whitefish Lake in July noticed a turtle nest, and were worried about damaging it.

They brought the nest into Wild At Heart , where volunteers set up a hatching area for the eggs.

"Basically, you have to keep them at the right temperature and humidity," Jouppi said. "They started hatching about three weeks ago. We managed to hatch 25 eggs, a number we were pleased with."

Jouppi said that snapping turtles are born with a yolk sack, which provides them nutrition for the first 10-15 days of their lives.

A local animal refuge is getting ready to reintroduce 25 snapping turtles back into their natural habitat. 0:42

After that, the team at Wild at Heart begins to feed them, until they're ready to be released.

"In some cases, we will receive a female turtle that has been severely injured or recently has died because of being hit by a car," he said. "We can actually retrieve eggs from that turtle."

"Or if there's eggs found somewhere and they're in danger of being disturbed close to the highway, we have the ability to get those turtles hatched and increase the population."

Once they're ready to be released, Jouppi said the team sets out to find the right place for their return.

'That's usually near a water source," Jouppi said. "We release them...in two or three areas. At this stage they just head for the water and start swimming." 

The turtles are still not out of the woods, as their shells are soft enough to allow predators an easy meal.

"With turtles, like all wild animals, you start with a large number so you have a few down the road."

Wild at Heart says they hatched 25 snapping turtles after construction workers brought a nest of eggs to the refuge. (Wild at Heart Animal Refuge)

And Jouppi said volunteers will now experience the bittersweet feeling of watching animals under their care leave the Wild at Heart nest.

"I think it's like watching any animal , whether eagle, hawk or turtle, it's just as satisfying a feeling knowing you've done something to help," Jouppi said.

"When they're leaving it's positive but there also a feeling like they're leaving."