Depredation of gravid freshwater turtles by Raccoons (Procyon lotor)
Keywords:Additive mortality, depredation, predator, Raccoon, Procyon lotor, Blanding’s Turtle, Emydoidea blandingii, Northern Map Turtle, Graptemys geographica, Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina, Ontario
During summer 2017, we found 19 dead or fatally wounded adult female turtles belonging to three at-risk species at a nesting site on the north shore of Lake Erie, Ontario. Individuals were found flipped onto their carapace, had similar holes in their body cavities, and were eviscerated. Their eggs had also been consumed. Although turtle nest depredation by Raccoons (Procyon lotor) is common, it is unusual for them to target large numbers of gravid turtles within a season. Depredated species included Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica), and Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii). Our observation represents a spike in additive mortality for these populations, which could have long-term demographic consequences.
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