What To Do If You See A Turtle In The Road In Western New York
Yesterday (5/23) was World Turtle Day. How many times have you seen one in the road at this time of year? Here's what you should do if you see one this spring.
"Give Turtles A Brake!"
The NY DEC is asking motorists to keep an eye out for turtles in the road and be ready to hit the breaks if you see them. They're reminding people that between the months of May and June many turtles can be seen crossing the road as they migrate to nesting areas. Thousands of them are hit and killed and they're asking you to keep an eye out for them.
Why are there so many in the road in the first place?
Normally around this year they're looking for breeding areas. They don't lay eggs in the water so if they live in a creek or pond, they have to leave that area to reproduce. So they could be heading from a pond or lake to a drier area to lay their eggs.
Can I help it get where it's going?
If you see a turtle in the road, you can gently help it get to the other side, but always make sure you take it in the direction that it's already headed. Don't try to "guide it toward water." It might be coming from that water and it will end up having to cross the road anyway. Never take a turtle that you find in the road home to keep as a pet. They're wild animals. They should stay in the wild.
If you see one that could be in danger, you can help it...enjoy watching it for a while, but then let it continue on its way.
Also...if it's a snapping turtle, they can really cause some damage to you. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THEM. Stay away from the front of them.
Here are some tips to help you safely move a turtle to the other side of the road:
A couple years ago we were sitting at the table at my wife's grandma's house when we saw a turtle crossing the road. When I got out there this is what I saw...
This mama was laying her eggs right next to the road. It doesn't seem to be the safest place to lay eggs...but what do I know?
New York Snapping Turtle
Gallery Credit: Clay Moden
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Gallery Credit: Rob Banks