They call him “the monster.” One look tells you why.

At 10 kilograms, he is the biggest snapping turtle among dozens veterinary technician Maureen Lilley has nursed back to health in her three years at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, and she won’t even attempt to lift the big guy.

A jigsaw-sized wound is gouged into its shell, probably by the underside of a car.

The monster was picked up on Highway 28 north of Peterborough.

Summer is high season for turtles at shelters like this one. That’s when turtles leave their swampy homes to lay eggs in sandy areas, frequently by the side of rural roads. They lumber across the asphalt only to be injured or killed by cars carrying cottagers rushing to commune with nature.

It’s a major reason snapping turtles, like other southwestern Ontario species, are in decline say veterinarians. Rescue centres have begun incubating their eggs so the young animals can be released into the wild when they hatch and keep the population up.

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