Turtle seasons timeline

Do you want to know what Turtles are doing during the year? find out in this timeline.

November to March


Turtles enter an induced sleep state (called brumation) in late fall at the bottom of ponds, lakes or deep under the mud.

Early April

Active season

It begins as ice cover retreats, approximately between early to late April until May depending on the latitude and regional climate. Turtles may travel, sometimes overland, from overwintering sites to other habitats used during this season.



Ontario Turtles mate first thing after they emerge from brumation.
Fun fact: females can store sperm from multiple males so one nest can contain eggs that have been fertilized by different males!

April to mid-May


Early spring water is very cold so seeking warm microhabitats and basking on logs to elevate their temperature with the warm spring sun is critical. This is a great time of the year to survey turtle populations.

Mid April to Mid May

Painted Turtle Hatchlings Emerge

They hatch from their eggs in the fall but most overwinter in the nest rather than moving to water. So they emerge in the spring! When the cherry blossoms come out do Painted Turtle Hatchlings!
Fun Fact: Painted Turtle Hatchlings can freeze in their first year making them the highest order of animals that can freeze.

Late May to beginning of July


Turtle mamas leave the water to lay their eggs on land.  They look for sunny places where digging is easy, usually sand or gravel.  Depending on the weather, Turtle eggs will take 60 to 90 days to hatch. 
Fact: This is the most dangerous time of the year for turtles 

September to end of October

Hatchlings Emerge

Snapping Turtle Hatchlings emerge in the fall. While most Painted Turtle Hatchlings choose to overwinter in the nests, some may emerge in the fall. Especially in southern Ontario.