ENFIELD, Conn. (WWLP) – Police helped a snapping turtle get out of the road in Enfield Saturday.
According to the Enfield Police Department, while on patrol an officer saw a snapping turtle in the middle of Taylor Road. He moved the turtle from the roadway to a nearby water source. The officer estimates the turtle weighed approximately 40 pounds and it’s shell had a circumference of 18 inches. A turtle this size is estimated to be 100 years old.
Turtles travel to new areas to find food and nest from mid-May to early July. They have a good sense of direction and may be on their way to wetlands or open, upland sites such as lawns, gravel pits, or roadsides for nesting. If you find a turtle, do not move it far away.
“Adult turtles can live past 80 years. Young turtles and eggs, on the other hand, have a variety of predators and a low chance of reaching adulthood,” says Dr. Mike Jones, MassWildlife State Herpetologist. “This is why it’s especially important to protect older adult turtles from cars, especially during this time of year when turtles are crossing roads more frequently.” Losing any adult turtles, particularly adult females, is a serious problem that can lead to the eventual local extinction of a population.
MassWildlife provided the following tips incase you see a turtle in the road:
- Be safe. Do not risk getting hurt or causing harm to others by unsafely pulling off the road or trying to dodge traffic. If the opportunity to safely move a turtle from the road occurs, move it in the direction it was heading and off the edge of the road. The turtle is trying to get to habitats and resources it needs and knows. Do not take turtles home or move them to a “better” location; turtles should not be moved more than 100 yards from where they are found.
- How to handle turtles: Most turtles should be grasped gently along the shell edge near the mid-point of the body. However, snapping turtles are fast and have very powerful jaws that can inflict a bad bite. A snapping turtle can reach your hands if you lift it by the sides of its shell. If you must move a snapping turtle, use a broom to coax it into a plastic tub or box. Never lift a snapping turtle only by the tail; this can injure their spine.
- Slow down. Watch for turtles on roadways bordered by wetlands on both sides. These areas are commonly used as crossing points. Also, remember areas where you’ve seen turtles crossing in the past. Turtles are animals of repetition and chances are, more turtles will likely cross there or somewhere close by.
- Inform MassWildlife. If you see turtles crossing the road, report it! Information that you provide on the Linking Landscapes online portal helps MassWildlife and MassDOT prioritize transportation projects to help turtles and other wildlife safely cross roads and keep drivers safe. Just as importantly, contact your town Conservation Commission and local conservation partners to evaluate resources within your town to help turtles. Signage, barrier fencing, or seasonal speed bumps help reduce roadkill.