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Nature Notebook – Turtle Crossing

Why did the turtle cross the road?  To get to the other side!  Turtles will soon be making appearances on roads, driveways and yards.  They are not lost; they are on a mission to lay eggs.  The females travel away from their watery habitat (some as far as half a mile) to lay their eggs in dry soil.  The turtle eggs need oxygen and steady warmth from the sun, which would be unavailable in an aquatic nursery. So mom heads out for the annual trek that may take her across the road.

If you find a turtle crossing the road, please slow down and avoid them if it is safe to stop. If it is safe, and the turtle is not crossing the road fast enough to avoid traffic, the best thing to do is help it across in the direction it is headed.

When picking up a turtle, grab it by the back of the shell in between the back legs with your hand supporting the top and bottom shell. Most turtles cannot reach their head around far enough to bite you at this spot. The exception to this rule is the snapping turtle. Snapping turtles have heads long enough to reach around to the back of their shell for protection. Use a shovel or a stick to scooch them off the road.

NEVER pick up a turtle by their tail. Their tail is part of the spine of the turtle and you can seriously hurt a turtle by doing this.