Slow Down: Turtle Crossing!

A decapitated deer. A squished snake. A rotting raccoon. A pungent possum.   A rare skunk or porcupine.

Road kill.

If in a car, I often joke about stopping and bringing home dinner.

On my bike, it’s a different story. Sometimes I can circle around the carcass; other times, if there’s traffic and a non-existent shoulder, depending where the body lies, I have to ride through it, fast, holding my breath.

As an automobile driver, I know how hard it can be to avoid hitting an animal. Deer appear out of nowhere; squirrels and chipmunks scurry across the road, unannounced. I slow down but know my tires have hit a few small woodland creatures.

Turtles, however, slowly inch across the tarmac, moving from wetlands to nesting areas. And many are killed because motorists either don’t see them, or can’t be bothered to stop.

On a recent ride, we encountered this fellow, (actually no idea what gender), and dismounted to have a little chat.  0-1And to indicate to the drivers behind us to slow down and give the turtle wide berth.

The next day, we saw another turtle, less lucky, a road kill victim.

What should you do if you see a turtle crossing the road?  The Turtle Rescue League recommends you stop and help the turtle reach its destination faster.

Pick it up by the back, not the tail, and place it in the direction it’s headed.

Not sure if the guy we saw was a snapper or not, we just watched him/her safely get across.

It’s summer. School’s out.  Kids, cyclists, runners, and turtles all deserve their share of the road.

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17 Responses to Slow Down: Turtle Crossing!

  1. a little kindness is a good thing for any of God’s creatures! Love this post Lisa.


  2. Actually, You should pick it up the way you would a hamburger – two hands one on each side; picking it up the way you would a basketball (one handed) can backfire if s/he wiggles and you let go
    Speaking of s/he – if you really want to know – the underside of a male’s carapice is concave, a female’s is flat. Males also have a distinct long triangular marking on their undersides whereas females sport a shorter wider triangle marking…..think about THAT :0)


  3. Drjcwash says:

    When we lived in Maryland Tennessee, it was common to encounter roadkill while walking, driving or riding a bike. It is so hard to miss some animals. No matter how you swerve. I must admit I have been fortunate enough not to have hit any animals. I feel very lucky. I use to have to drive this very wooded area from the hospital to my house and fortunately never even met a deer. Enjoy riding and be safe.


  4. This is hilarious..I made a life change. Will call u tomorrow..darlene


  5. I’m pretty sure that’s not a snapper. But if I wanted to find out, I’d look for a stick, and hold it in front of the mouth. A snapping turtle will snap at the stick. We live just off of what I call a country highway road (speed limit 50mph, one lane in each direction, no shoulder and few passing zones), and we get a lot of possum as road kill. We’ve nick-named it Possum Road.


  6. Coming East says:

    When we were in Florida, we saw a creature scurry across the road into the tall grass at the side of the road one evening. “An opossum!” I said. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law both corrected me at once and told me it was an armadillo. Having lived in south Texas for 29 years, I told them I had never seen a live one. We only had road kill armadillos in Texas! Good post, Lisa. I always try to avoid all creatures when I’m driving.


  7. Glad to know I’ve been doing the right thing!! My dog, otoh, would much rather bring me the turtle 🙂 Great post Lisa!


  8. tchistorygal says:

    I never knew how to move a turtle. We don’t see them crossing roads here. We get squirrels, skunks, cats, and dogs mostly.


  9. I would totally stop and help it across! We have a lot less road kill here in WA than we had in Michigan or back east. Not sure what that means, but we’ve all noticed it…


  10. Pingback: My 300th Post: 2013 Highlights | cyclingrandma

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