Melissa Doperalski: (603) 271-1738
June 13, 2018
CONCORD, NH — Turtles are on the move as nesting season is underway. Turtle nesting season in New Hampshire lasts from late May into early July, reaching maximum intensity in early to mid-June. One of the biggest threats to turtle populations in New Hampshire is being struck by vehicles on roadways. While male turtles may occasionally travel over land to different wetlands, mature female turtles leave the ponds and wetlands every year to lay their eggs.
“Turtle nesting season provides us with a unique opportunity to see turtles moving on land, but it is an extremely vulnerable time for them,” said NH Fish and Game Department Wildlife Biologist Melissa Doperalski. “We can do our part to help them safely reach their nesting habitats by slowing down vehicles and keeping an eye out for them crossing the roads in coming weeks.”
Here’s a few things you can do to help New Hampshire turtles survive:
- Slow down and watch for turtles in roadways!
- Help turtles cross roads safely. If you see a turtle crossing a road, and it is safe for you to do so, help it cross in the direction it was traveling. Never create a dangerous situation for other motorists or yourself. Snapping turtles should be handled with care or allowed to cross on their own.
- Don’t take the turtle home or move it far from where you found it. A turtle taken to your home is a turtle lost from the local population. (Also, all New Hampshire native turtles are protected by state law during nesting season).
- If a turtle is injured, visit www.wildnh.com/wildlife/rehabilitators.html or call Fish and Game’s Wildlife Division at (603) 271-2461 for a list of wildlife rehabilitators in your area. For more on what to do if you find an injured turtle, visit www.wildnh.com/nongame/turtles-injured.html.
- Report turtle sightings to N.H. Fish and Game’s Reptile and Amphibian Reporting Program (nhwildlifesightings.unh.edu).
- Work with land trusts and town officials to help conserve important natural areas in your community.
- Don’t leave mulch piles laying around, as they can be attractive places for turtles to nest when located near wetland areas. If mulch will be in place for several weeks or more, covering with plastic will help reduce attractiveness for nesting turtles.
By taking these steps, we can all help to ensure that New Hampshire’s turtles stay abundant and healthy. So slow down and give turtles a brake this spring and summer!
See pictures of and learn how to identify New Hampshire’s seven native species of turtles at www.wildnh.com/nongame/turtles.html.
Find out more about the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, supported by federal and state grants and individual donations, at www.wildnh.com/nongame/index.html.