Our Research

Researchers from the University of Regina and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum are undertaking a study to learn:
• What areas of Wascana Marsh are critical for Western Painted Turtle survival?
• Where do Painted Turtles overwinter in the marsh?
• How many Painted Turtles are in Wascana Marsh?

 

The Turtles

Western Painted Turtles are a common sight within Wascana Marsh, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, the Qu’Appelle River and a few other places in southern Saskatchewan. One of only two species of turtles in Saskatchewan, the Western Painted Turtle is easily distinguished from snapping turtles by its smooth shell and brightly coloured legs and neck (red & yellow strips). The best place to see painted turtles in Wascana Marsh is along the banks of the two dugouts in the Habitat Conservation Area, just south of the Wascana Hill.

Painted turtles eat aquatic plants, insects, snails, leeches and small fish. Turtle eggs and young turtles can be eaten by skunk, gulls, mink, and raccoons. Adult turtles however, are well protected by their shell and few are eaten by predators. It is believed that painted turtles can live over 100 years!

Despite many their charismatic charm, relatively little is known about turtles in Saskatchewan. Through a partnership led by the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, University of Regina, and Friends of Wascana Marsh, the Wascana Turtle Program will engage in research to better understand population size, critical habitats (summer, winter, and nesting) and factors affecting how painted turtles survive in such an extreme climate.

 

Donate & Adopt

Adopt a turtle today! Your donation will directly support the Wascana Turtle Program and conserve turtle habitat in Wascana Marsh. Mail this card with your donation to: Nature Saskatchewan, Room 206, 1860 Lorne St. Regina, SK, S4P 2L7. To donate over the phone, call (306) 780-9273. Registered Charity #11914 0283 RR0001

Donate $50 and get
• A photograph and certificate of your adopted turtle
• A Western Painted Turtle fact sheet
• A Wascana Turtle Program magnet

Donate $150 and get
• All of the above
• PLUS an invite to a guided tour of Wascana Marsh with a turtle researcher (in the Spring or Fall)

 

Observing Turtles

A number of Western Painted Turtles will be marked with a number and fitted with a radio-transmitter on the back of their shell. Read about University of Regina graduate student, Kelsey Marchand's adventures in collecting data on these turtles in her blog.

• If you see a marked turtle around Wascana Marsh, try to read the number that has been painted on the turtle’s shell and report your observations to turtles@royalsaskmuseum.ca. Your observations will be posted in our Wascana Marsh map below.

• If you see or know of turtles anywhere in Saskatchewan, send your observations to turtles@royalsaskmuseum.ca (photographs are great!). We’ll post your observations in our Saskatchewan map below.

The top map shows the latest sightings of Western Painted Turtles in Saskatchewan. The lower map shows the latest sightings of Western Painted Turtles in Regina's Wascana Centre.


 

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