How Mainers Can Best Help Turtles Crossing the Road This Season
Annual Turtle Outing
We've all seen them. Turtles in the middle of the road slowly trying to find their way. With the warmer spring months along comes massive turtle movement.
Who can blame them? After a long winter of trying to stay warm and stay alive, these critters are ready to warm up, eat, and have adorable turtle babies.
Turtle in the road?
Because they are so eager to get life going again it is not uncommon to drive up on these critters in the middle of the road. So, how can one safely help the turtle get to the other side?
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife tackled this topic head-on with some key advice. First, if there's no other oncoming traffic just observe without physical assistance. In a circumstance where the turtle does need physical assistance to cross, be sure to use both hands near the turtle's shell and continue in the direction the turtle was heading at least 30 feet away from the road.
What about snapping turtles?
In a circumstance where it's a snapping turtle, which is incredibly common in Maine, they advise utilizing a car mat to slide the turtle to safety. Canadian Wildlife Federation recommends using the wheelbarrow method by grabbing the turtle by the back legs and walking it forward or get a long stick for the turtle to bite on one end to drag it across.
What if I find an injured turtle?
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators to contact that you can find here.
Thank you to all who take the time to help a turtle trying to find its way!