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Help turtles cross area roads, Sudbury group asks drivers

Turtle nesting season is starting and that means drivers may see more of the reptiles near the roadside, attempting to cross.

Junction Creek Stewardship Committee says turtles consider roadways a warm place to lay eggs

The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee is asking motorists to help turtles when they are trying to cross the road. Drivers are asked to gently pick up turtles, like this painted turtle, and move it across the road in the direction it was travelling. (Sarah Woods/supplied)

Turtle nesting season is starting and that means drivers may see more of the reptiles near the roadside, attempting to cross.

The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee in Sudbury is asking motorists to help those critters cross the road.

“Turtles are attracted to roadways to lay their eggs because they like well-drained soil where there’s not a lot of tree cover so that their eggs get some sun and some heat,” said Sarah Woods, research co-ordinator at the stewardship.

“This time of year, what we’re seeing most are females looking to lay their eggs.”

Different turtles, different ways to help

Woods said there are three different types of turtles on the move in Sudbury and some need to be moved differently than others.

“The painted turtle [and] the Blanding’s Turtle — you can simply pick them up with one hand on either side of the shell and carry it across the road that way,” she said.

“You want to make sure their head is pointing away from you because they can bite and they can scratch.”

A Blanding's Turtle is seen basking in the sun in Sudbury. The Junction Creek Stewardship is asking motorists if they see turtles trying to cross the road, to assist. (Sarah Woods/supplied)

However, snapping turtles require a different approach, Woods said.

“It’s a little bit more complicated because they also bite like the other species, but they can swing their head backwards,” she said.

It’s recommended you help a snapping turtle by picking it up near the tail on the shell, Woods said.

“Wheelbarrow it across the road. It will sort of walk with its front legs.”

Woods said helping turtles will assist in keeping the overall turtle population in check.

“Seven of the eight species of turtles in Ontario are species at risk,” she said.

“So their populations are declining and one of the main reasons for that are road conditions. That’s something very preventable.”

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