Turtles are on the move this time of year with females looking for nesting sites and males looking for mates, prompting one turtle advocate to issue an alert.
Dian Becker, Pacific emergency management director, wants to raise awareness about the dangers that turtles put themselves in when crossing the road.
Becker sent out a “Turtle Alert.”
“Have you ever seen a turtle trying to cross a busy highway and wondered how many die under the wheels of automobiles each year?” Becker wrote, “Jeff Briggler has, and as Missouri’s state herpetologist, the answer worries him.”
Becker said her plea to look out for turtles was a paean to her sister Dawn Grove, a dyed-in-the-wool turtle lover who routinely stops on the road to help a turtle get across.
“She says, ‘Someone has to look out for them,’” Becker laughs. “You could say that my family has been looking out for turtles forever.”
Briggler also has a long history with turtles. He has been the herpetologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation since 2000. His work on amphibians and reptiles has taken him from deep underground caves to mountaintop glades throughout the Ozarks. At this time of year, he is focused on turtles.
As the weather warms up, nature gets moving. Late spring and early summer are the most common times to see turtles trying to cross the road. This is treacherous for the turtles because they are relatively slow moving animals, especially when compared to the cars that go zooming by.
Even if a turtle manages to make it across without getting hit, if there is a curb it can inhibit their ability to get off the road again.
If you see a turtle on the road it is an act of kindness to help it get to the other side. But above all keep yourself safe on the road, taking care of other traffic.