This is a busy time of year for turtles. We are seeing them quite often trying to cross the road to get from point A to point B. The problem is that many people disagree with point B and return them to the side they were coming FROM. Please note that they may not seem to know where they're going, but they do! If you see one, please help them across (careful if they're snapping turtles!) and carry or guide them safely across in the direction they were heading. If you see a turtle on a bend in the road, be sure to pull far off the road way ahead of or way behind the turtle and turn on your hazards. Go back for the turtle, making sure you can see and hear traffic in both directions. Safety first. If there is no oncoming traffic, let the turtle cross by itself to avoid unnecessary stress, and if you do help them, do not handle them excessively. Beware that a stressed turtle will often empty it's bladder. Don't drop them if this happens!!!! It's just urine, and it will wash right off.
Why should we help turtles? First, because protecting wildlife from vehicle strikes and other dangers caused by humans is the right thing to do. Second, turtles take a very long time, sometimes over ten years, to reach sexual maturity, i.e. reproductive age. Losing turtles early in their lives can be devastating to any species, particularly those that are already threatened, endangered or a species of special concern. Turtles really can use all the help they can get in order to reach that age and begin reproducing.
Please be safe out there and thank you for helping our turtles!
Photo courtesy of: Connecticut DEEP