The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) are reminding motorists to be cautious and alert for wildlife crossing or alongside roadways during this time of year. Motorists are advised to slow down and avoid swerving if they encounter wildlife in the vicinity of roadways.
Springtime is breeding and nesting season for many kinds of wildlife, which means they are more active as they search for mates and disperse across the landscape. Common species seen near roadsides include beaver, muskrat and turkeys. In addition, on the first warm, rainy evenings of April, frogs, salamanders and toads will cross roadways as they head toward wetlands to breed. In some popular crossing areas, the amphibian migration numbers are in the hundreds.
Please consider the following advice in order to help ensure the safety of travelers and help wildlife:
- Be alert for wildlife near and in the road. Travel at slower speeds than usual.
- Find a local conservation group in your area that is assisting amphibians across the road at known locations. Join them on a warm rainy night when these fascinating creatures are on the move.
- If you are driving and see wildlife up ahead, slow down gradually so vehicles behind you have time to brake, slow down and observe how the creature is reacting.
- Have increased awareness of abrupt actions if you see a moose or deer on the side of the road or crossing the road. “Brake, Don’t Swerve!”
- As temperatures warm in May and June, turtles will be crossing roadways. If it’s safe to assist—move the turtle in the direction it’s going. Turtles are hardwired to travel to the same location year after year.
Consider contributing wildlife observations or roadkill to a statewide Citizen Science Projects. Linking Landscapes with Massachusetts Wildlife (LLMW) is a long-term and multifaceted volunteer-based monitoring program. The objectives are to: 1) Reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and improve public safety, 2) Enhance, protect, and restore habitats impacted by roads, 3) Incorporate conservation priorities into transportation planning, and 4) Implement wildlife transportation and research.
Report animals seen on or near roadways. Anyone seeing roadkill, or a turtle or amphibian crossing roads should consider visiting https://www.linkinglandscapes.info/database-projects.html to submit information.
To submit findings, click the major project that best fits what you see: reducing turtle roadkill, mapping amphibian crossings, or mapping wildlife roadkill. Fill out the short survey, with detailed location information. There is a Google Map at the bottom of the survey that can be zoomed in and panned to a specific location. The information provided on the website helps MassWildlife and MassDOT determine wildlife crossing hot spots to mitigate wildlife-human interactions and how best to manage them.