Monday, April 9, 2012

PSA - Watch Out For Turtles on the Road

Blanding's Turtle Laying Eggs
Blanding's turtle (Photographer: Justthefacts60)
Today's fact is more of a public service announcement. It's turtle mating season in many parts of the world, which means female turtles are searching for good spots to lay eggs, and male turtles are looking for girlfriends. If roads are in their path, the turtles go ahead and attempt to cross them. Unfortunately, the armor they wear for protection from predators is no match for a car or truck. Populations of turtles have been declining as motor vehicles have become more plentiful. Some species, such as the Blanding's turtle and Eastern box turtle, are now endangered or threatened in many areas. These turtles take many years to reach breeding age (14 - 20 years for Blanding's turtles, and 7 - 10 years for box turtles), so the loss of just one breeding turtle can be detrimental to the species.

Please be extremely careful if you see a turtle on the road, for your own sake as well as the sake of other motorists and, of course, the sake of the turtle. Unfortunately, many accidents are caused by well-meaning folks who swerve out of the way or stop to help, and some of these good Samaritans are hit by drivers who aren't paying attention. Some communities are putting up fences or building wildlife passages (such as the Lake Jackson Ecopassage in Florida) to help divert turtles from the roads. However, until such things are more common, please keep your eyes open for turtles on the road, and take care. Future generations of turtles will thank you!

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