Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Caution: Turtle Crossing!

Posted by  //  June 7, 2018  //  Articles, Creature Feature

This time of year, as the days warm up, turtles strike out in search of forage, territory and mates.  As well, female turtles are seeking out the best places to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, these behaviors may put turtles at great risk, as many are killed by vehicles while crossing the roads.  Please watch out for turtles when you’re driving from May – October, when they’re most active. If you see a turtle in need of “roadside assistance,” here are a few tips:

  • Your safety first!  Signal and pull over properly; put on your hazards, and check for vehicles before you walk onto the road.

  • If the turtle is moving along, it’s often best to simply stand guard and allow it to cross on its own.

  • If it’s hunkered down, you can pick it up by gripping it securely with two hands placed at the back of the shell.  Stoop down as you carry the turtle, and try not to drop it. Using the same grip, you can use the “wheelbarrow” method:  lifting just the back end of the turtle and “walking” it across the road. For a large &/or aggressive turtle (snapping turtles can lunge and may bite), slide a car mat, a big piece of cardboard, etc., under it, and drag it to safety.  A handy shovel or broom in your vehicle can be used to gently scoot turtles along. Never pick up a turtle by its tail, as this can damage its spine.

  • Lastly, always try to move the turtle in the same direction it was heading when you first saw it, and if possible, place it several feet off the roadway.

Watch a short video demonstrating these tips in action at:

Article and Snapping Turtle Photo by Margie Manthey

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