But that well-honed defense mechanism doesn’t work well against fast-moving SUVs and trucks. And that’s why turtles need our help, especially in June when many of them will be crossing roads and highways to get to mating and nesting areas and to move from wintering areas to summer waterways.
Soon, baby turtles will be out and about, too.
Roadway mortality is believed to be a major factor in turtle population declines in the Northland and across the U.S. (Habitat loss and predation of turtle nests by raccoons, skunks and coyotes are other major problems.) And unlike most creatures in nature which can do just fine without us, turtles are one species that may now need a helping hand.
Some species — such as wood turtles and Blanding’s turtles — take 12 to 20 years to reach reproductive maturity, so the death of even one female turtle can take a big toll. That’s why both the Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of natural resources are asking people to pick up most turtles they see on the road, move them in the direction they were headed, and place them safely off the road on the other side.