Our native turtles are on the move in May and June seeking sandy areas or loose soil to lay their eggs. In New York, thousands of them are killed each year when they are struck by vehicles as they migrate to their nesting areas. If you are traveling to the Adirondacks for an adventure, be especially mindful of turtles near water crossings, roadside water access points, swamps and marshes, and sandy soil areas.
What you can do to help:
- If you see one on the road, please give turtles ‘a brake’. Slow down to avoid hitting it with your car.
- If you can safely stop your vehicle, please consider moving the turtle to the shoulder on the side of the road in the direction it was facing.
- Picking it up by its tail may frighten or injure it. Most can be picked up by the sides of the shell.
- Use caution when moving snapping turtles; either pick her up at the rear of the shell near the tail using two hands or slide a car mat under her to drag her across the road.
- Please do not take them home. All native turtles are protected by law and cannot be kept without a permit. All 11 species of land turtles that are native to New York are declining. Even losing one mature female can have a negative impact on a local population.
Photo of painted turtle by Jennifer Doyle-Ashline, provided by DEC
How can anyone hit a turtle with a car it’s not like they dart out in front of you.
Often happens on dark, rainy nights. They can be hard to see. But I also believe some people run over them on purpose.
Agreed JVG. Turtles have never been accused of ‘darting’ anywhere. Maybe some people actually try to hit them but my experience as a runner and bike (bicycle) rider have led me to believe that many (most?) drivers are semi or totally oblivious to what’s happening around them. They may see things in plain view but it often doesn’t register in their consciousness. Dangerous for turtles AND bike riders/runners.
P.S. Just ‘helped’ a turtle get to the other side of the road on my latest bike ride.
That’s a wonderful thing to do, great job!