There is so much to attribute directly to Canada. Perhaps when people consider countries that are not their own, there is a landmark or objective stereotype that we associate to other countries. France? The Eiffel Tower. Egypt? The Great Pyramids. England? The Queen, or perhaps a nice mid-afternoon cup of tea. Everywhere has them, and for many it has become a symbol of pride. For Canada, It’s harder for me to name just one thing, but for many it might be a toss-up between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or something as simple as our vast domain of wild territory and our wildlife.

I’m on the side of stereotyping Canada with its huge wildlife population, and to even further the notion along I had an absolutely fascinating encounter involving a wild Canadian Snapping Turtle, and a mystery culprit who ate all the eggs. The mystery began recently, the end of summer that the cold-weather enthusiasts hailed with open arms, with an almost ethereal sound of the earth going “chhh chhh chhh.” It turns out, it was the sound of a massive snapping turtle and its efforts to dig a nest safely away from the water’s edge. We found the nest full not a day later, and being proud of our Canadian native animals we made sure to stand by and observe at a respectful distance.

The Canadian Snapping Turtle is a very interesting animal, and at that they turn up in the strangest places at completely random times. They say that if a snapping turtle shows up at your door, it is an omen of upcoming good luck. Superstition aside, the common snapping turtle can vary widely on their lifespans, but data from Ontario’s own Algonquin park suggests it is possible for aging up to 100 years. While these animals aren’t generally aggressive, its their flexibility of their neck and head that make them pretty terrible pets, and are much better left to their own devices out in the wild or in dedicated wildlife preserves.

Disaster unfortunately struck our hard-shelled friend, and this enthralling true-crime novel begins with discovery of an empty nest only a day after we observed all the eggs resting comfortably. With minimal clues and not a shred of evidence, we put together a quite telling list of possible culprits who could fit the crime. First, we questioned the seagulls. Yes they can be scavengers, and yes they have easy access to both the scene and easy means to flee. However, we soon discovered that the primary gull season in Ontario is from November onward, and the summer season is not their prime feeding time. Next, we interrogated that pesky Opossum! This not-so aesthetically pleasing marsupial is a newcomer to Canadian forests, and although they have been known to dig up turtle eggs we quickly realized that they act more as a living pest repellant, living on a diet of insects, ticks, slugs, snails, cockroaches and more.

The plot only truly thickened when we uncovered the telling tale of the Canadian Red Fox. The red fox is the most common classification of foxes found in Canada. They are everywhere, all over Canada and Alaska, domineering over the realms of Europe and Asia, and remaining one of the last true fox species. The Red Fox is nocturnal, and with the additional trait of generally sly and sneaky we now have a means, and an opportunity for the Fox too be named as a prime suspect. When taking a look at a red fox’s diet, we discovered a penchant for pretty much everything under the sun in the range of small animals, and what sealed the deal was a special love for feeding near lush areas, and especially at the water’s edge which can include a range of small animals. We filed the paperwork and recommended charges of a life sentence in Canada’s glorious wilderness.

On a slightly more serious note, watching the vast amount of wildlife we see here can be an interesting experience. From bears in my kitchen to missing turtle eggs, taking an active interest in the world around us makes being a Canadian a truly unique experience.


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