Friday, May 23, 2014

How to help a Connecticut turtle cross the road

How did the turtle cross the road?
With a little help from its friends. 
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, in a news release, reminded state residents "to be on the lookout for turtles crossing roads."
"The months of May and June are the nesting season for many turtles and during this season egg-bearing aquatic turtles often cross roads in search of terrestrial nesting sites," the release said.
“Connecticut’s landscape is highly fragmented by busy roads, and many turtles are forced to travel great distances – and across roadways – to find suitable nesting habitat,” Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEEP Wildlife Division, said, also in the release.
“Helping a turtle move across the road can be the difference between life and death for the animal, and for future generations, but your safety comes first. Be sure to assist a turtle in the road only when it is safe to do so and do not attempt to stop traffic.”
“Research has shown that aquatic turtle populations across the United States have uncommonly high proportions of males because so many female turtles are being killed on roadways,” Jacobson said, also in the release.
The following is information released by DEEP, unedited here (except for links) and posted a public service:
Guidance on Assisting Turtles
Always keep the turtle pointed in the direction it is going. If you turn it around in the other direction, the turtle will only make another attempt to cross the road. Also, DO NOT move the turtle to a “better spot,” and DO NOT put terrestrial box turtles in a lake, pond, or other water body. Turtles have a home range and females often return to the same general area to lay their eggs. Snapping turtles can be large, heavy, and feisty, so if you are unable to “shoo” them across the road, pick them up by the back of their shells, NOT by their tail, to avoid a bite. Some people use a shovel or a stick to push or skid snapping turtles across the road.
Turtles have a long lifespan, take a long time to reach sexual maturity, and have low survivorship when newly hatched. Because of these attributes, turtle populations cannot compensate for losses due to adult mortality without experiencing long-term consequences. With turtle populations requiring high levels of adult survivorship, every individual is important to a population’s stability. This concern is even greater in recent years because many U.S. turtle populations are becoming fragmented, isolated, and progressively smaller.
In your travels, if you encounter a turtle in the road, just remember this motto: “If it is safe, help turtles cross the road.”
DEEP is also encouraging residents to take photographs of any turtles they observe as they enjoy the outdoors and share them on the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page at or on a Twitter account set up by students from UCONN’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
Those interested in learning about Connecticut’s turtles can visit the DEEP’s turtle webpage at
Photo credit Paul J. Fusco/DEEP Wildlife Division

1 comment:

Patti said...

Q. Why did the turtle cross the road?

A. To get to the other side.

Wild about flowers!

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