Why did the turtle cross the road? Good question! The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has been getting lots of reports lately of turtles on the roads. That's right ...turtles.  Why? Well, June is turtle nesting season and many turtles are crossing busy Maine roads to get to their nest. It can be a dangerous proposition for them and we are going to tell you how you can help out these slow pokes.




According to MDIFW Wildlife Biologist Sarah Boyden:

"Road mortality is a significant threat to both Blanding’s and spotted turtles, which are protected under Maine’s Endangered Species Act.  The most common turtle species seen crossing the road are painted and snapping turtles.  Both species range throughout the eastern U.S and take 10 years or more to reach breeding age. Although they are common, they also face high levels of road mortality."



What should you do if you're driving and come upon a turtle? Well, Sarah tells us how you can help:

"If you’re driving, find a safe place to pull off the road, put your hazard lights on and check for traffic before entering the roadway.

Smaller turtle species like painted turtles or Blanding’s turtles can easily be picked up and carried across the road.  Snapping turtles can grow to just over 30 pounds, have powerful bites and requires more care when handling.  Don’t pick them up by their tails.  It can injure and even paralyze larger turtles by damaging their vertebrae. There is a convenient lip on the back of a snapping turtle’s shell found just above their back leg."



Here's how you can learn about more these cool animals.