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Warning: Turtles crossing Minnesota roads

ST. PAUL -- Turtles are crossing roads across Minnesota as they head to nesting locations.

“Many turtles and other species are killed on Minnesota roads each year, especially during the nesting season,” said Carol Hall, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources herpetologist. “In fact, roadway mortality is believed to be a major factor in turtle population declines throughout the United States.”

While most Minnesota turtles are aquatic, they may be found miles away from water as they migrate to nests.

The DNR says if there is not a lot of traffic, letting a turtle cross the road by itself is the best option. However, if a turtle is threatened by traffic, a person may give a hand if it is safe. The DNR suggests that people handle a turtle gently and avoid excessive handling.

However, snapping turtles and ones with soft shells may bite when picked up, so they should be held gently along the shell edge near the midpoint of the body.

DNR experts warn would-be turtle helpers that turtles often urinate when picked up.

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