Chances are that you have probably seen a turtle trying to cross the road. But roads are dangerous places!
Adult female turtles do something that other turtles do not: travel on land to nest. And, this makes them particularly vulnerable to roads. Normally, many eggs and baby turtles are eaten by predators, but this is offset by their long lifespan. If turtles survive to adulthood, then they are tough enough to live for decades. If they lay eggs for many many years then they are likely to produce enough babies to replace themselves in the population. When roads take those adult females out, then the population may decline (this relates to some of my masters research).
So you see, when turtles get killed on roads it is clearly a big problem for individual turtles but it also affects the overall population too.
People often ask me what they should do if they see a turtle crossing the road and I am always immediately clear about one thing: Always Prioritize Your Own Safety. People have been killed helping turtles cross the road and it’s not worth it.
That said, I’m so excited to once again partner with the brilliant Rosemary Mosco (get her new book!) to illustrate why turtles cross the road and what you can do about it (previously we teamed up on Cottonmouth Myths).
This collaboration was made possible thanks to a grant awarded to me by The Mindlin Foundation and my time was made possible through my work for The Alongside Wildlife Foundation, my 501(c)(3) conservation non-profit Want to support more work like this? Then please considering signing up as a recurring donor.