Each May and June, Motorists Should be on the Alert for Turtles Crossing the Road
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 turtles are killed each year when they are struck by vehicles as they migrate to their nesting areas.
What you can do to help:
- If you see a turtle 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 it to the shoulder on the side of the road in the direction it was facing.
- Picking the turtle up by its tail may frighten or injure it. Most turtles 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 the turtle to drag her across the road.
- Please do not take turtles home. All native turtles are protected by law and cannot be kept without a permit. All eleven 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 Liz Ricci.