It is turtle season! As they wake up from their winter hibernation our four-legged friends are going to be looking for a place to breed and lay eggs. This means we are going to start seeing lots of turtles on the move across Indiana and the Evansville Police Department has been helping them to travel safe.

EPD Parks Police Are Protecting People and Animals

The Evansville Police Department shared to Facebook about their Parks Police's encounter with a turtle trying to cross the road. They also make mention of the recent snake wrangling that took place with one Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Deputy after a resident discovered a rat snake in their building.

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office may be getting snakes out of homes this week... but our Parks Police are moving turtles off of the roadways, to ensure their safety, while patrolling our parks. Okay, it might not be AS cool as VCSO having a snake charmer on their department, but we're dedicated to protecting all creatures within our community, too.
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There's a Right Way to Help a Turtle Cross the Road

We've all been there - we're driving along and we spot a turtle crossing the road. For some of us, the need to stop and help the turtle cross the road - and prevent it from being squashed by another motorist - is overwhelming. But there is a right way to help a turtle cross the road.

Always Move a Turtle in Its Original Direction of Travel

Obviously, you want to make sure that it's safe to stop and help, ensuring that you yourself don't end up getting squashed. When moving a turtle you have found in the road, you should always simply move it to the side of the road. Which side? That's the really important part! Make sure you move the turtle to the side of the road that it was traveling to reach.

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How to Safely Pick Up a Turtle

When picking up a turtle to be moved, always pick it up from the sides. Do not pick it up by the tail. If you encounter a snapping turtle, despite its nasty demeanor, you can move it by using heavy gloves, a blanket, or even a sweatshirt to protect your hands while picking it up - again from the sides and never the tail.

How to Safely Move a Large Snapping Turtle Across the Road

Western Kentucky Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation says that if the snapping turtle is extremely large and heavy, you can use a shovel or other study implement that can be slid underneath the turtle and then dragged to get the turtle to safety. Take a look at the video below on how to safely move a snapping turtle.

Do Not Ever Take a Wild Turtle Home

Saving a turtle from traffic is really the only responsible reason to move a turtle. Unfortunately, another popular but far less responsible reason is that you, or your kids, want to claim it as a pet. Look, I get it - turtles are super cute little guys but the truth is, this is heartbreakingly detrimental to the turtle.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Eastern Box Turtles are Homebodies

These fabulous little quadrupeds are sort of what you might call a homebody, particularly Eastern Box Turtles. Western Kentucky Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation says Eastern Box Turtles stick close to home, rarely traveling more than a mile from where they were hatched as babies. A box turtle will actually stay in the same area its entire life and if they are moved - either by a well-meaning human trying to save them from some perceived danger or to be "re-homed" as a pet, this can cause much undue stress for the turtle.

Box turtles that were born in the wild and were later put into captivity tend to have a much shorter life span. Worse than this; some people take box turtles from their homes and then release them elsewhere into the wild. Box turtles will not simply settle down in a new location if moved. More often than not, they will wander aimlessly; hopelessly trying to find their old home until they die.

If you do take a box turtle home and then decide that you no longer want to keep it, it's imperative that you return the turtle to the exact location where it was found. Of course, the easiest - and most humane and responsible - thing to do would be to leave the turtle where you found it in the first place.

[Source: Western Kentucky Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation via Facebook; EPD via Facebook]

Animals You Might Encounter in The Wild in Indiana

There is no shortage of stunning wildlife in Indiana. Here are six species native to the state that you might encounter the next time you head outside.

Gallery Credit: Kat Mykals


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