Turtle time

small animal crossing sign turtle BethlehemThe state Department of Environmental Conservation would like to remind you that "the state's native turtles are on the move in May and June seeking sandy areas or loose soil to lay their eggs" -- and to urge people to watch out for them while driving. From a "What can I do to help?" list:

+ If you see a turtle on the road, please try to avoid hitting it with your car. Do not swerve suddenly or leave your lane of travel, but take care to avoid hitting turtles while driving to "give turtles a brake".
+ Be on the lookout for turtles and slow down, especially on roads near rivers and marshy areas.
+ If you see a turtle in the road or shoulder and you can safely stop your vehicle and approach the turtle, please consider moving it to the shoulder on the side of the road in the direction it is facing.
+ Picking the turtle up by its tail may frighten or injure it. Most turtles, other than snapping turtles, can be picked up by the sides of its shell.
+ Use extreme caution when approaching snapping turtles. You could:
+ stand watch as she finishes crossing,
+ pick her up at the rear of the shell near the tail using both hands, or
+ slide a car mat under the turtle to drag her safely across the road. See a video of how to help a snapping turtle cross the road (leaves DEC website).
+ Do not take the turtle home. All turtles native to New York are protected by law and cannot be collected without a permit.

There are 11 native species of land turtles in New York, according to DEC, which says the populations of each are in decline.

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