Park Alert...

Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

June 2021

By Ranger Amy

Turtle crossing a road in the parkIt’s that time of the year when you’ll see turtles crossing roads. What are they doing? Is the water bluer on the other side of the road?

It’s possible that a turtle may be looking for another pond or wetland to live in. But it’s very likely that most of the turtles crossing this time of the year are females in search of nesting sites. 

Our freshwater turtles are semi-aquatic. This means that they have clawed, webbed feet instead of flippers (like sea turtles). They are fast in the water, but able to move proficiently on land.

Mating season

Turtle in the grassCommon freshwater turtles, such as the red-eared slider, mate between March and July. Females begin to search for suitable nesting sites in April and May. They choose nesting sites that are above the water level and as safe from predators as they can be.

After laying their eggs, the mother turtle returns to the water. The eggs will hatch on their own a two months later.

The sex of most turtles is determined by temperature. If the eggs incubate below 81.86 degrees Fahrenheit the turtles will be male, if they incubate above 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit the hatchlings will be female.

Help a turtle out

If you see a turtle crossing the road, please slow down and go around it.

If you’d like to help a turtle, always make sure it’s safe for you to do so. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.

Always move the turtle in the direction it’s heading, and never drag a turtle by its tail. To learn how to move turtles I recommend watching these short videos: