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This May and June Give Turtles “a Brake”

Each May and June, Motorists Should be on the Alert for Turtles Crossing the Road

Did you know?
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.  It may take more than 10 years for a turtle to reach breeding age, and they lay just one small clutch of eggs each year, so the loss of a breeding female can have a significant effect on the local population.  All eleven species of land turtles that are native to New York are declining.

What can I do to help?

  • If you see a turtle on the road, please try to avoid hitting it with your car. Do not swerve suddenly or leave your lane of travel, but take care to avoid hitting turtles while driving.
  • Be on the lookout for turtles and slow down, especially on roads near rivers and marshy areas.
  • If you see a turtle in the road or shoulder and you can safely stop your vehicle, please consider moving it to the shoulder on the side of the road in the direction it is facing.
  • Picking the turtle up by its tail may frighten or injure it. Most turtles can be picked up by the side of its shell.
  • Use extreme 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 the turtle home. All native turtles are protected by law and cannot be collected without a permit.

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