It’s Turtle Egg Laying Season in Indiana, Keep an Eye Out for Turtles on the Road
Every year when the weather starts to warm up you always see more turtles on the road, and right now you may notice even more as its egg-laying season.
Turtle Egg-Laying Season
It's mid-June as of writing this, and we are in the midst of turtle egg-laying season around the state of Indiana. According to Humane Indiana Wildlife located in Valparaiso, many turtles seek places to lay eggs, and many cross roads when doing so. Cars killing turtles on the road is actually a big threat to turtles, so Humane Indiana Wildlife is raising awareness about our shelled friends.
It's egg laying season for turtle species in Indiana and throughout the Midwest. This means it is a perilous time of year for turtles!! Year after year in late spring, and early summer, female turtles come up out of their lakes, ponds, and wetlands to find a place to nest on land. Many of those turtles will cross roads in the process, and some will not make it to the other side. Turtles are long-lived species that mature slowly and have fairly low reproductive outputs. The survival and longevity of adults, especially females, is critical to the survival of populations. The fact that roadkill disproportionately affects mature females means that for some populations, only losing a few turtles per year can dramatically impact population stability. When seeing a turtle on the road it is important to safely transport it across the road in the direction it was going.In many cases, roads are the number one greatest threat to turtle populations. The rehabilitation center is currently hosting 4 turtles, all of which had been struck by vehicles. The three Painted Turtles and one Eastern Box Turtle in our care were rescued from the roadside and, of those, three had to have shells repaired due to their injuries. The Eastern Box Turtle sustained only minor shell damage and thankfully the shell remained intact after the incident. Of all the turtles in our care, its time with us will be the shortest.
What To Do If You Find a Turtle on the Road
If you see a turtle on the road, it can be a very dangerous situation for that turtle. You can help them along their journey, by moving them out of the road, but there's a correct way to help them.
Pick them up under their shell and move them across the road in the direction they were heading. If you take them back, they'll just try to cross the road again. It's also important to remember DO NOT pick them up by their tails. That can actually damage their spinal cord.
Do NOT Take the Turtle Home
Typically when you come across a turtle on the road in our area, you'll come across a box turtle. Specifically common to our region is the Eastern Box Turtle. While these little guys are cute, and you may be tempted to take them home, they're actually a protected species, so leave them be. You can help them along their journey by moving them across the road, but don't take them anywhere else. You can read more about why you shouldn't take a turtle home, here.