Watch Out For Turtles Crossing Roads

It’s spring time, which means it’s nesting season for turtles who are the hunt for a home for their eggs.

Be Alert For Turtles Crossing Roads

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is reminding drivers to be careful as they drive by roads near bodies of water because turtles may be crossing the streets as they search for dry areas to lay their eggs.

“Typically they need to get away from wet areas because obviously nesting in a flood plain, just like we’re dealing with right now a lot of water means those eggs could actually drown,” says Dan Thompson, an ecologist at DuPage Forest Preserve. “So females do try and find higher grounds.”

Turtles Crossing Roads Sometimes Result in Tragedy

The drier conditions turtles seek usually means crossing a street or two, and unfortunately for some it can be a dangerous journey.

“This wound was deep enough to [cause some paralysis],” says Thompson while holding a turtle that was struck by a car. “You can see how she seems fine. She’s moving her front legs, and she’s fighting me right now trying to pull her leg in. And she can, but when you set her down she doesn’t seem to want to walk.”

Since turtles are slow, their only way to try and avoid getting smashed by a car is to shell up. But this still can leave the turtles with injuries.

“Here’s the part that you would see but underneath are the ribs and the other vertebrae,” says Nathan Bemlbe, a naturalist at DuPage Forest Preserve. “So any damage to the shell can cause significant damage to the spinal structure of skeleton structure.”

How Willowbrook Helps Injured Turtles

Luckily, the Willowbrook Wildlife Center rescues and rehabilitates some turtles until they’re healthy enough to be released back into the wild.

Thompson says if you see a turtle crossing a road to slow down, and cautions if you need to do a turtle transport, move it take towards the direction it’s heading. Though, if it’s a snapping turtle, just let it be.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.

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