The Bay of Quinte Region rests serenely on the north-east shore of Lake Ontario, one of the 5 Great Lakes of North America. It has a 4 season climate with hot, humid summers and the winters, although variable, can be very cold and snowy.
We do not have alligators here nor any poisonous snakes of any kind. The lakes and rivers are all fresh-water and can be swam in safely without the worry of being attacked by any creature.
There are a few animals to be wary of though, especially if they are acting aggressive or if you come upon one by chance.
The Snapping Turtle is a prehistoric looking creature with a ridged back and tail and a sharp looking snout (because it is!). This turtle can grow quite large and is capable of jumping forward with amazing agility and speed if threatened. It can inflict a very hard bite withe snap of it's jaws, strong enough to break a human bone. These turtles generally keep to themselves and will not bother mankind, unless they are cornered or threatened.
They will only attack on land and are not to be feared in water. In the spring you will often find their nests in sandy or gravelly areas such as beaches or along the shoulders of roads that run near water bodies. Their eggs are the size and appearance of ping pong balls and are a treat for skunks and racoons, amongst other wildlife.
Snapping Turtle Photo Courtesy of Flickr
Their numbers have become greatly depleted over the years, due to 'turtle' hunters, as their meat is considered a great delicacy for turtle soup, served in the finer of restaurants. They are protected now and there is a ban on hunting snapping turtles in Ontario.
We do have an abundance of coyotes, foxes and the odd wolf visits our region, as well as black bears and the occasional eastern cougar, which has been spotted a few times in recent years.
Coyotes, Wolves and Foxes, unless rabid or protecting their young, will not bother you and are more wary of you, than you are of them.
You would be lucky to see one as they are all extremely secretive.
If you spot one in the woods or in your yard, stay well away. A canid coming into a built-up area or approaching someone deliberately in the forest, usually signifies a rabid animal and these can be very dangerous.
The government of Ontario puts out immunization pellets throughout the forests in the hopes that wild mammals will find them and in consuming them, be immune to rabies; however not all mammals find and consume one of these pellets.
Similarly, if you spot a racoon who is acting aggressive or strange, stay far away and report them to a local animal control operation.
Black Bears have been known to attack people, although rarely and usually only if their young are threatened. If you are camping, do not leave any food around and definitely do not keep food in your tent. Keep all food in the trunk of your car or bundled up and slung high up over a tree branch and out of the bear's reach. It's also wise not to have any soiled or sweaty clothes in your tent at night as bears are attracted strongly by scents that they may perceive as food and have been known to come right through a tent to get what they want. Bear attacks are very rare , however they do occur and you'd be wise to practice precautions if you plan on hiking or camping in our region.
Please read this excellent article put out by Parks Canada on what to do if a Black Bear comes after you, especially if you plan on spending time in our beautiful wilderness areas or parks anytime soon.
This area of Ontario also is known of porcupines and although you are not likely to be close enough to one to be harmed, your pet may encounter one and subsequently require a very expensive trip to the veterinarian to have quills removed.
They say a smart dog gets one or two quills in the lip or snout and backs off (which my pet coyote Neeka did when she and her son Badger encountered one), and a not so smart dog will get angry after the first few quills enter and go on an all out attack on the porcupine
(which is what Badger did when he saw his Mother yelp in pain from being stuck with a few porcupine quills.
Badger had thousands of quills stuck in his mouth and thoughout his face and required extensive sedated quill removal at the vets involving a two day stay and a bill in the neighbourhood of $400.00).
Keep your pets on a leash at all times if you plan on hiking or camping in any of our parks or forests.
In addition, always keep your children close by and preferably make a fair bit of noise as you are hiking through the woods in order not to surprise any of our wild creatures and suffer an unpleasant encounter.
Jo-Anne Smith, the author of this article, is a REALTOR® with Royal Lepage Proalliance Realty, Brokerage, in Belleville, Ontario and welcomes your real estate inquiries. To contact her, visit www.QuinteRegionRealEstate.com