Give turtles a brake

Every spring, many female turtles move from lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers and streams to nesting areas where they deposit their eggs in self-excavated nests.

Unfortunately, many nesting areas are separated from the turtles' wintering areas by roads. As a result, turtles are often observed crossing roads as they make their way to nesting areas.

You can help reduce vehicle-related mortality for turtles by observing these guidelines:

  • Allow turtles to cross roads without assistance. When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic, allow them to do so. Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements as doing otherwise will often cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells.
  • Avoid handling turtles excessively. While a desire to inspect turtles closely is understandable, excessive handling can disrupt their normal behaviors. Prolonged examination of turtles should therefore be limited to only one or two individuals of each species.
  • Maintain turtles' direction of travel. Always move turtles in the same direction they were traveling in when you encountered them. Turtles should always be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible.
  • Check around your vehicle for hiding turtles. Some species of turtles will go into parking lots, get confused and hide in the shade under the cars. Please look for turtles before leaving a parking space so that they aren't accidentally backed over.
  • Slow down and drive around turtles on the road. Many people want to help turtles cross the road which is understandable. The best approach is to let the turtle cross unassisted.

Minnesota has nine turtle species, some of which are protected. The three species you are most likely to see in Bloomington are the Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle and Blandings Turtle, which is a protected species.