Monday, June 14, 2010

Turtle Crossings

Each year at this time, female turtles move from lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers and streams to nesting areas, where they deposit their eggs in self-excavated nests. Unfortunately, many nesting areas are separated from the turtles’ wintering areas by roads. Turtles are often observed crossing roads as they make their way to nesting areas.

“Many turtles and other species are killed on Minnesota roads each year, especially during the nesting season,” said Carol Hall, herpetologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

You can help reduce road mortality for turtles in these ways:
Allow unassisted road crossings. When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic, allow them to do so. Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements as doing otherwise will often cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells.

Maintain direction of travel if road crossing assistance is necessary. Turtles should be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible, unless doing so would definitely put them in peril.

If people see a turtle or other animal on the road, they should slow down and drive around it. Many people want to help turtles cross the road which is understandable. The best approach is to let the turtle cross unassisted. Minnesota has nine turtle species, some of which are protected.

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