Lucy Jarvis Joondalup Times April 1, 2020 Turtle hatchling with a 20-cent coin, near Lake Joondalup. Credit: Supplied/Gary Tate Parks and Wildlife has reminded people to leave turtle hatchlings alone after recent sightings near northern suburbs wetlands. Reader Gary Tate, of Greenwood, sent photos of two baby turtles he saw around Lake Joondalup, one in Wanneroo and the other in Edgewater and urged others to be alert around waterways. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions wildlife officer Matt Swan said oblong turtles were commonly found across the Swan Coastal Plain. While people might want to help because the small creatures look vulnerable, Mr Swan said it was better to let them tough it out themselves. “We really encourage people to leave them alone,” he said. “We let nature take its course.” Mr Swan said females could walk up to 7km from water to lay their eggs and loved to excavate sandy spots to lay clutches of about 30 eggs. He said it could take up to 120 days, or four months, for the hatchlings to emerge and then make their way back to the water, which was why people often saw them on paths. Turtle hatchling seen near Lake Joondalup. Gary Tate Credit: Supplied/Gary Tate “We would expect hatchlings to come out this time of year,” Mr Swan said. “The reason why mum lays 30 eggs is because a lot will get preyed upon. “That’s part of the natural cycle.” Mr Swan said if people moved turtles, they may put them at more risk of being eaten by older turtles or birds in the lake. He said people could watch them cross paths and warn cyclists in the area, and prevent them from being eaten by dogs. If concerned about sick or injured wildlife, call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055. Mr Swan said it was unlawful to take, possess or disturb native animals, and people needed a licence to have them as pets. Call Wildlife Watch on 1800 449 453 to report illegal wildlife activity.