Drivers urged to avoid turtles on road

Drivers avoid a large snapping turtle as it crosses a Northwoods highway

GREEN BAY - Drivers may soon be seeing some slow moving hazards.

More turtles may be making their way across roadways looking for an optimum nesting spot.

Wildlife experts have some friendly advice about how drivers and turtles can share the road.

"The most common ones you're going to see right now, are snapping turtles, and painted turtles," said Mike Reed, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Director.

Reed says the turtles are searching for nesting grounds.

"They're looking for just the perfect spot to dig a little hole, lay their eggs in it, and bury it up," said Reed.

But often times that perfect spot is across the road.

"I've seen them in the middle of gravel roads, laying their eggs on gravel roads. I just saw one this weekend in Door County. A snapping turtle along the side of the road, on the shoulder, digging a nest and laying eggs. So, they're pretty opportunistic," said Reed.

Shannon Connolly and her daughter snapped a turtle picture while on a walk.

"We saw a really big turtle, and he was very far away from the pond on the opposite side of the trails," said Shannon Connolly, Green Bay.

So biologists are asking people to safely help.

"You want to stay away from that mouth. You don't want to get bit. Just sometimes, just a broom and shoo them across the road," said Reed.

"Help them across the road in the direction they're going, because if you move them to the other side of the road, they're just going to turn around and go back where they were going anyway," he said.

Reed says if you do help, wear gloves if possible, and wash your hands.

"Anytime you handle a wild animal, turtles are no exception. They have bacteria, and other things on their shells. Use a hand sanitizer afterwards," said Reed.

Reed says the turtles will be crossing roads all summer.

Shannon Connolly says she will be watching.

"I think people should always be alert to the different obstacles. Share the road," said Connolly.

"We want to make sure they have a healthy population, going forward," said Reed.

Biologists say the turtle eggs will hatch in three or four months.