Turtle Defenders Spring into High Alert

We’ve been rained on, soaked and flooded, but this is only happy weather to the local turtles.  They have family on their minds and about now is when they haul themselves out of lakes and creeks and ponds to seek a place to lay their eggs.  Dry land is what they need and they will crawl up impossible embankments, trek over rough pastures and, most dangerous of all, cross roads.

Each season, I see the casualties.  The ones who could not lumber fast enough, who weren’t big enough to be seen in time, who tried the road after dark or who were victims of deliberate vehicular turtlecide.

Snapping turtles particularly like the gravelly shoulders of roads in which to dig their nests and lay their eggs. A slow, laborious process, often sadly fatal when the prehistoric creatures meet a barreling SUV with an oblivious driver.

Snapping turtles don’t reproduce until they are almost twenty. They can live up to 70 years. If you kill one on the road, you’ve punched a big hole in the species.

However, the turtle defenders are on the job.  That’s anyone who stops to help a turtle across the road. And Dave of wildlife rescue, who will come any time, day or night, to save a turtle. Turtles are his passion, and he can provide an instant half hour lecture on species at risk and how the loss of any female–they’re the ones crossing the road–is a major blow to the survival of her kind.

So this year the folks have outdone themselves and erected a huge sign next to my fence, begging folks not run over the turtles. I sure hope it works. I’ll be on turtle watch too.  The egg-laying ladies deserve every protection we can muster.

And, everyone, please watch where you are driving in turtle season. The turtles depend on YOU to give them a miss.

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