Discover Nature: Turtles | KBIA

Discover Nature: Turtles

May 16, 2016

As you hit the road this spring, keep an eye out for Missouri residents at special risk this time of year:  this week on Discover Nature, we hit the brakes for turtles on the move.

Turtles are generally declining statewide, mainly due to loss of habitat. Thousands of box turtles are killed on roads by vehicles. Overwintering burrows can prove inadequate during hard winters, and many turtles are starved or killed by humans trying to keep them as pets. Leave turtles in the wild, follow the speed limit, and keep your eyes on the road.
Credit Missouri Department of Conservation

Missouri has 18 kinds of turtles – all are protected species.  Some of the most common, box turtles commonly live to older than thirty years and some species live even longer. 

Spring rains and warming weather trigger activity as turtles venture out in search of mates and establishing home ranges. 

Unique, hinged lower-shells help protect these reptiles from most natural predators, however, too many of these innocent travelers are killed every year by passing cars. 

If you see a turtle on the road this spring, slow down, and if possible, safely steer around it.  Always keep human safety your number-one concern, but if you help a turtle cross, check for traffic and be sure to move the turtle in the direction it was traveling.   

Discover Nature is a production of the Missouri Department of Conservation.