Get familiar with characteristics of turtle relatives that you can find in High Park so you can easily identify them!

Snapping Turtle

Snapping turtle photo
Photo by Amyris Rada.

  • Prehistoric-looking
  • Upper shell (carapace) color is tan or olive to black
  • Carapace length is up to 50 cm (19.5 in)
  • Weight over 15 kg (33 lb)
  • Long tail with triangular spikes along the top
  • Largest freshwater turtle in Canada
  • Lifespan estimated between 30 to 40 years in the wild, perhaps even longer.

For more information, read Snapping turtles (Ontario nature).

Midland Painted Turtle

Midland painted turtle picture
Photo by Amyris Rada.

  • Olive to black carapace with red or dark orange markings on the margin
  • Red and yellow stripes on the head and neck
  • Carapace length between 12 to 14 cm, measured up to 19.5 cm
  • yellow or dark tan plastron (lower shell) with a darker, irregular “butterfly” marking along the midline
  • Often bask on shorelines, logs, or rocks above the water

For more information, read Midland painted turtles (Ontario nature).

Red-eared Slider Turtle

Red-eared slider turtle
Red-eared slider photo: PXFUEL
  • Brown to black carapace
  • Yellow stripes on its limbs and head
  • Distinctive red or orange band around the eyes
  • Maximum size of 25 to 33 cm
  • Can live more than 30 years in captivity
  • Most common non-native species of turtle in Ontario
  • Native to the south-central U.S

Red-eared Sliders are often released into the park’s ponds from home aquariums. They are thriving and displacing the native population of Midland painted turtles.

Before you get one, read Don’t sent them free (Ontario nature blog).