DuPage County is home to several species of turtles, including the common snapping turtle and the endangered Blanding’s turtle.
And as the weather warms up, it’s important to be wary of these reptiles on the road, especially near lakes and marshes.
“People don’t realize that they do move around a lot,” said Dan Thompson, an ecologist for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. “They don’t just stay in this pond or over in this section of the river. They do utilize the habitat.”
Female turtles are especially out and about at this time for nesting season. They often need to find higher ground to dig their nests, requiring them to cross several roads to find the right spot.
Thompson said the turtle population needs about 90 percent of its adults to survive in a given year to remain stable – a particularly high threshold compared to other animals.
“Turtles are designed that once they reach adulthood they are meant to have a long and prosperous life,” said Thompson. “And unfortunately they’re not seeing that anymore and it’s mainly because of changes we have made to the landscape. And road mortality is just one more pressure.”
Thompson added that if you see a turtle on the road, you shouldn’t transport it to a new habitat. If you feel the need to help, take caution and carefully assist it across the road.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.