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Watch out for turtles on Dane Co. roads

Watch out for turtles on Dane Co. roads

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)— The Dane County Humane Society’s (DCHS) Wildlife Center have recently taken in some snapping and painted turtles that have been hit by cars.

Marissa DeGroot, a spokesperson for the Dane County Humane Society, said this is the time of year when turtles are beginning to move for breeding and are searching for good nesting sites to lay their eggs. When they make this journey, many of the turtles will risk their lives crossing the road.

DeGroot said you can help save the turtles by watching out for them on the roads, slowing down around wetlands, and helping them safely cross the roads.

Here are some things you can do to keep you and the turtles safe:

-Don’t put yourself or others in danger on a busy road. Sometimes just pulling over and putting your hazards on is enough to get people to slow down enough to allow the turtle to cross safely.

-When helping a turtle cross a road, always move them across in the same direction they were already heading, even if they are heading away from an apparent water source.

 -Do not relocate the turtle to a place you think is more suitable. Simply move them to the other side of the road they are crossing and let them go on their way. While moving them to water may seem like the kind thing to do, in reality, it could just make their journey longer and more dangerous as they reroute back to their original destination.

-Never pick a turtle up by their tail as this can cause severe spinal damage. You can safely hold a turtle along the back edge of their shell without getting bitten.

-If you don’t feel safe picking the turtle up, you can use a blunt object such as a stick, shovel, ice scraper or other similar item you may already have in your car to push them across the road, or utilize a car mat to put under them and then slide them across the road.

-Turtles are very resilient. If you see an injured turtle along the roadside, please pick it up and transport it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator even if you are not sure it is alive any longer. Even if it is not alive, there may be eggs that can be saved and incubated and once hatched, the babies can be released back into the habitat that the mother had occupied.

-Be sure to wash your hands after handling a turtle.

-Report your sighting to the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program, a citizen-based monitoring program aimed at identifying high-mortality locations along roads in order to better conserve Wisconsin’s eleven turtle species.

Please call the Dane County Humane Society’s Wildlife Center at (608) 287-3235 before you intervene if you find an ill, injured or orphaned wild animals you think needs assistance.
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