Have you noticed all of the turtles? Each spring and early summer it seems like there are more and more out and about. ELAMom’s reached out to Preuss Pets for some information and how to help them along.
Hey there, it’s Sean (from Preuss Pets in Lansing). Here is a pretty basic run down on turtles, why there are so many this time of year, and what to do if you see one.
As things get consistently warmer in late March and early April, Michigan’s turtles get more active and start looking for places to lay eggs, search for food, and for water sources.
Females want to lay eggs in a certain type of soil, so they will travel away from their pond to lay eggs, sometimes even a ¼ – ½ mile or more, which is why we don’t always find babies near the water.
Majority of the time they will be within 20-30yds of their water source.
What happens when we find a turtle in our yard?
If you find an aquatic turtle on your property, you can safely move them to the nearest body of water or let them pass through on their own. If it happens to be a box turtle or wood turtle, leave them be, they are just passing through.
What about when we see a turtle making a track across the road?
Turtles will travel between water sources, so sometimes they are just in between ponds.
If you find a turtle crossing the road, you can safely move them to the side of the road they were crossing towards. Most turtles can be picked up with no harm by grabbing them in the middle of the body, getting a grip on both the underside (plastron) and topside (carapace) of their shells.
If it is a snapping turtle, they have significant reach with their necks all the way to their back legs. If you have a shovel, scoop them up and move them across the road. If no shovel is available, try to scoot them along using a stick or other long object. If you have to use your hands, grab them on the backside of their shell, above the hind legs grabbing the upper shell (carapace) and move them across the road.
When you move them, move them to the other side of the road in the direction they were going.
What happens if we come upon a turtle that is injured?
Wildside Rehab is going to be your best bet for injured turtles. Wildside is located in Eaton Rapids.
Do native turtles make good pets?
Do not try to keep turtles as pets. Aside from it being illegal to own a native species, it’s also illegal to own a turtle under 4 inches.
Certain species of turtles in Michigan are protected and illegal to own unless under special circumstance and proper approval.
Turtles also require special care and needs that can be very expensive, not to mention lifespans in excess of 50 years and up to 100 years or more depending on the particular species. Even Michigan’s smallest turtles can easily live 50 years
Thanks Sean! So far, we have helped 8 turtles cross the road this summer – if you see one, help them along. Oh, and… wash your hands after giving them a lift 🙂