Throughout the summer and even this late into the season, you may have spotted some of my favorite not-so-furry friends out on the trails or roads–the incredible, indelible turtle! Box turtles, the eastern painted, and snapping turtles are commonly found throughout our area. Unfortunately, many interactions with these species happen on roads throughout the summer.
You can help!
When you see a turtle in or traveling onto a road, always be sure you can safely park and navigate the traffic around you before helping! It is important to help the turtle in the same direction the turtle is headed. Turtles have an incredible compass and are able to use and navigate the contours of the landscape instinctively. (Some sea turtles even use the stars to navigate!) If the turtle is moved in another direction, it will likely turn back on its course of travel which could mean going right back onto the busy road.
Most of the road activity for these local turtles happens in early June when they are laying eggs in the exposed dirt and sunny areas where they prefer to nest. This is the time of year when those baby turtles emerge! Because turtles are such a long-lived species, reaching sexually maturity decades into their life, it is important to drive cautiously, help when safe, and make sure to give these babies the best start to their life.