Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Public Service Announcement

It is the time of year, at least in these parts, where turtles can be found crossing country roads. Too often, that does not end well for the turtle.

They cross the roads looking for mates, for places to lay eggs and just going about other turtle business.

Redbelly Turtle
Turtles, as well as snakes, find roads nice warm spots to rest as they travel about. As you are no doubt aware, turtles defend themselves by tucking into their shells. Alas, they did not evolve in an environment with automobiles. Shells are fine for defending against raccoons, fox, and the like. Not so much against a motor vehicle.

This past Sunday we came across the large (10+ inches long) Redbelly Turtle above and the small Eastern Painted Turtle below in the middle of county roads in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Eastern Painted Turtle
And we were able to help both of them cross the road.

Sadly, it was too late for this one.

Common Snapping Turtle

Whenever we see a turtle in the road we pullover and move it to the side of the road it was facing, in the direction it was headed. We move it as far off the road as possible, in an area with cover and room to roam. With most turtles you can just lift and carry. Snappers require a more cautious approach. I travel with a hiking stick in my car, thick enough to withstand a bite and long enough to keep me out of harms way. And with it I can convince the snapper to move along.

So please be on the lookout for turtles in the road, and if you should come upon a turtle in your travels, why not help it along and get it off the road and to safer ground?

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