What to do If You Encounter a Turtle on the Road in Colorado
Why did the turtle cross the road? Because it digs Colorado and wants to see more of it. This is what you should do should you encounter a turtle crossing the road in Colorado.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever found yourself driving down the road in Colorado only to find a turtle in your path? I've lived here 51 years and have never seen a turtle on the road. Well, if you find yourself in this situation, there's a certain etiquette to be observed.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race in Colorado
Just yesterday Mesa Verde National Park published a Facebook post asking Colorado residents to "share the road." According to the post, "These slow-moving friends are often seen crossing roads. Slow and steady wins the race, but it can sometimes be a strategy that leads to getting hit by fast-moving cars. What should you do if you see slow-moving wildlife, particularly turtles, crossing the road?"
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service echoes this statement. Their official webpage reads, "This time of year many wildlife, like turtles, are on the move. Whether it's for new territory, breeding, or a simple quest for food, it's possible that they will wander near or onto roads. Please keep a lookout for wildlife while you're driving."
Things to Remember When Encountering a Turtle
To date the only places I've ever been face to face with a turtle would include:
- pet store
- wildlife sanctuary
- on one occasion, on the Riverfront Trail in Grand Junction, near the Redlands Canal
Close Encounters of the Slow and Pokey Kind
I can speak from first-hand experience that you'll occasionally run into a turtle in the wild in Colorado. When that happens, here are a few tips on how to handle the situation, courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife:
- Be very careful when moving the animal (it could be injured or it could bite you depending on what species). If possible, sometimes it is best to just stand guard as the animal crosses the road on its own.
- Always keep your own safety in mind – watch out for oncoming vehicles, signal properly when pulling over and recognize your surroundings first.
- If the animal does need to be moved, put it down on the other side of the road in the same direction it was going.
- Do NOT take it with you.
- Get involved with roadside restoration and transportation projects: We're working to make our roads and roadsides work for transportation and the environment. Some of the projects include restoring a place for vernal pools and or even planting milkweed along highways.
- Learn more about wildlife laws in your state. Contact your State and Territorial Fish and Wildlife Office to verify what is legal for your state and ways you can get involved.
Having Fun With This One
My motivation for posting about this has to do with the unlikeliness it will ever be an issue. We're talking about turtles. This is not an advisory with instructions as to what to do when confronted by an Israeli Deathstalker Scorpion, Back-Mouthed Mamba, or a tiger of the Mangrove Swamps of the Sunderbans.
Now We Know
Well, if it happens you find yourself slamming on the breaks to avoid a turtle on the road in Colorado, we now know what to do. I'm not saying it never happens. Speaking as an animal lover, it's best to be prepared.