SPRING TURTLE SAFETY REMINDER

27 Mar

betty9.30.12


SPRING TURTLE SAFETY REMINDER

Beginning within the next few weeks many box turtles and other reptiles will be emerging from their winter dens and crossing roads, fields, gardens and yards-especially during and after heavy rain showers. Please pay close attention while driving, mowing and plowing.  If you encounter a turtle crossing a road it is not lost–it is on “important turtle business” and it knows exactly where it is in it’s habitat. Do not re-locate it or take it home as a “pet.” Please just safely move it to the side of the road that it is moving or pointing toward then place it a few yards off of the road and it will go on about it’s business.

If you find a turtle that injured from an encounter with a vehicle please take it to a reptile veterinarian/nature center or wildlife rehabilitation center ASAP.  Be sure to give them the exact location where you found the turtle so that it can be returned to its habitat when it recovers.  If you find a turtle in an area that is urbanized and not very “turtle-like” then it is possible that the turtle you have found has either lost it’s home due to habitat destruction aka: economic development or been transported there by well meaning humans who may have took the turtle home as a “pet” and it has since escaped.  If this seems to be the case please note the exact location then take the turtle to a nearby wildlife rehabilitator, reptile park or zoo and they will know what to do.  If you are unable to find someone willing to take the turtle please contact me and I will discuss the situation with you.

A note about mowing and box turtles.  Box turtles are most active during the early morning and later afternoon hours of warm spring, summer and fall days–especially after rains.  If you must mow or bush hog yards and fields please do so during the hottest part of the day.  This is when the turtles have either moved into the forest or burrowed down into the leaf litter or soil.  Also remember to raise your mowers blade to the highest point so that it will not injure a turtle that you may pass over.  Another good way to keep from hitting turtles with mowers is to keep your grass short–this discourages wildlife such as turtles  from moving into your fields in search of food items that like to live in tall grass.

The turtles and the local ecosystem will thank you for your part in helping preserve wildlife biodiversity in your area. If you encounter a snapping turtle, or snake crossing a road simply use a long bushy branch to “shoo” it off the road to safety because, like the box turtle, these animals also know where they are and they are also on important business that needs to continue in order for the ecosystem to remain healthy.

Please share and spread the word. The wild creatures and I thank you!

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