Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘road mortality’

Helping Turtles Off Roads

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

by Kathleen Wadiak, CWF Intern

New Jersey is home to a number of turtle species, and this time of year, it is not uncommon to see some of them crossing the road. Slow movers on land, they are not well equipped to avoid the dangers of a busy roadway. If you come across a turtle on one of your streets, what should you do?

An eastern box turtle. Photo by Ben Wurst.

An eastern box turtle. Photo by Ben Wurst.

First of all, it is important to think of your own safety in addition to the turtle’s. Be sure to pull completely over to the side of the road and to put on your hazard lights. Check for cars, and make sure that you are visible to oncoming traffic.


Snapping turtle. Photo by Kelly Triece.

Snapping turtle. Photo by Kelly Triece.

If you want to move a turtle across the road, there are a few things to keep in mind. To start, remember to never lift a turtle by its tail or limbs, as this can cause serious injury. With most turtles, it is best to pick them up on either side of their shell between the forelimbs and hind limbs. Even small ones may squirm and kick, so try to keep a firm hold and carry them low to the ground to avoid a dangerous drop!


If the turtle is large with a long tail and pointed head, it is likely a snapping turtle and should be met with some extra caution. Try using a blunt object to gently coax it to the roadside, and be careful to avoid touching it anywhere within range of its bite, which can reach as far back as the middle of its body! If you think you need to carry it, hold it with two hands on the shell behind its hind legs, on either side of the tail.


Terrapin X-ING sign along Great Bay Blvd. Photo courtesy of Ben Wurst.

Terrapin X-ING sign along Great Bay Blvd. Photo courtesy of Ben Wurst.

Before you handle a turtle, notice which direction it’s facing. Move it to that side of the street, as it is likely determined to head to a certain site, and will end up in the road again if it is moved away from its goal. This is an especially important point with the many threatened and endangered turtle species in our state. Helping turtles in trouble across a roadway and leaving them to enjoy their natural environment is a great way to ensure that there will be more wild turtles to appreciate for years to come!


The End of Another Terrapin Season

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
An Intern’s Perspective

By Derek Noah, CWF Intern, Summer 2014

Derek Noah, CWF Intern, collecting patron surveys at Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

Derek Noah, CWF Intern Summer 2014, collecting patron surveys at Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

My name is Derek Noah, I was an intern this summer for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF). I am a wildlife and nature enthusiast who likes to kayak, bike, and hike . I live in Monmouth County and I go to the beach during any extra time I have.

The Northern diamondback terrapin is a small to medium-sized species of turtle that lives in coastal salt marshes, including the marsh near the Stone Harbor Boulevard Causeway. Adult terrapins are commonly struck by vehicles while attempting to cross causeways, and terrapin eggs are eaten by raccoon and other mammalian predators. Currently, CWF’s Wildlife Biologist, Stephanie Egger, is working with other researchers and organizations on the best way to protect wildlife and satisfy people’s needs that visit, live, or work in coastal communities in New Jersey. I collected information from visitors, residents, and employees of Stone Harbor about their understanding and perception of terrapins and management of terrapins along roadways through a patron survey. I worked on this project in July and August and surveyed nearly 500 patrons! I conducted the surveys on the beach as well as local stores and shops. The survey introduced general questions of terrapins and ideas on how to limit terrapin road death through different road management practices.  The patron survey can be viewed here.

As a thank you for their participation each person surveyed received our newest “Be Terrapin Aware” decal and our “Be Terrapin Aware” Brochure. (more…)