It’s the time of year when Eastern Box Turtles move to their nesting grounds; often, it means crossing busy roads, which is frequently deadly for them. We try to help where we can, which means keeping an eye out for these beautiful, but slow, creatures.
If it’s safe to do, turtles trying to cross roads may need a helping hand to get to their destinations. Not so long ago, I found a large Eastern Box Turtle on the road in front of the farm that had been smashed completely flat by what was probably a semi truck. It was gutting to see what was probably a mature female turtle killed trying to get to her nesting ground. I moved her body off the road so drivers wouldn’t continue to run it over and cursed the careless, thoughtless, or inattentive driver that had caused her demise.
Just this afternoon, shortly after moving the turtle in photo, we came upon a large snapping turtle in the road that was dead. Again, how could a driver who was paying attention (to the road, not apps on their phone) have run a big turtle in the middle of the road over?? A generation of turtles ended with her, dead on the two-lane highway…a shame.
It should go without saying that drivers should be focused on the road and the task of driving, looking for hazards, and planning for emergency action, if needed. Instead, I see drivers holding phones up or looking down at their phones, crossing the centerline and swerving in their lanes without concern. No wonder so many turtles (and other animals, like the fox kit smashed on the same highway, or the skunk) are killed. Ignore your stupid phones and pay attention to driving!
Please be on the lookout for turtles and other animals that have to contend with the nearly insurmountable obstacles we (humans) have created to their natural movements. If you’re interested in helping turtles, this article has helpful tips.