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Turtle Crossing! Be a Turtle Hero This Spring

Turtle Crossing! Be a Turtle Hero This Spring

Warm weather has arrived, and that can only mean one thing – our shelled pals are on the move! As turtles emerge from their winter slumber, they’ll be making their annual trek to find the perfect nesting spots. But this migration isn’t without its perils, especially when it comes to our roads.

Every year, thousands of turtles meet an untimely end after being struck by vehicles while trying to cross streets and highways. For turtle populations already in decline across New York, losing these slow-moving travellers – particularly pregnant females – is a major blow.

But we can all play a vital role in ensuring these remarkable reptiles make it safely to their destinations. It just takes some attentiveness and a little dose of caution. Here’s how to be a true Turtle hero:

Keep Your Eyes Peeled When you’re driving, especially near wetlands, rivers or marshy areas, keep a lookout for turtles on or near the road. They’re easy to miss but worth avoiding if possible.

Pull Over Carefully If you spot a turtle trying to cross and can safely pull over, do so and approach with care. Never swerve suddenly or leave your lane unsafely.

Lend a Hand Once stopped, you can give the slow-poke a helping hand by gently moving it to the shoulder, being sure to point it in the same direction it was heading. No need to return it to the road behind you.

Use Caution with Snappers Those feisty snapping turtles require extra precautions. Try using a branch, car mat or your foot to gently nudge it along from behind if you can. Or just let it do its thing while you play crossing guard.

No Souvenirs! As tempting as it may be to take home one of these shelled cuties, remember that all native NY turtles are protected. Admire them, help them across, but leave them to finish their journey.

So keep your eyes peeled this spring and spread the word – our turtles need some heroes! A little brake from us goes a long way in preserving these remarkable reptiles.

Click to learn more from the NY DEC!

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