Have you ever wondered why turtles cross the road?
As spring and summer arrive, you may notice turtles crossing the road. Late May and June is a peak time for turtles to venture onto roads as they search for a suitable nesting site to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, crossing roads can be dangerous for turtles as passing cars can hit and kill them.
It's important to note that all eight species of freshwater turtles in Ontario (click here for help identifying all 8 species
) are considered species at risk, and road mortality and habitat loss are some of the main factors contributing to their declining population.
But don't worry, there are things we can do to help these amazing creatures safely cross the road. If you see a turtle on the road and it's safe for you to help, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Slow down and activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- Always move the turtle in the same direction it was heading. Don't take it back to the water as it may be going to lay eggs somewhere else.
- For snapping turtles, it's best to use the wheelbarrow method. Approach the turtle from behind, grip the shell on either side of the tail, tip the turtle, and move it forward across the road. Remember to always use caution as snapping turtles can bite.
- For a no-touch option, you can use a car mat to gently drag the turtle across or get the turtle to bite a stick.
- For any turtle, you can use the tray method. Again, approach the turtle from behind, place one hand firmly on the top shell, slide your other hand under the bottom shell, lift it up, carry it safely across, and gently place it down.
And remember, if you see a turtle, live or injured, call the S.T.A.R.T. hotline at (705) 955-4284. Saving even one turtle can make a big difference as they live for a long time and lay eggs every year. The Saving Turtles At Risk Today (S.T.A.R.T.) Turtle Project
in conjunction with Canadian Wildlife Federation works to conserve turtles in Central Ontario.
Let's all do our part to protect these amazing creatures and help them safely cross the road!