The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 7, 2002


It's June ­ watch out for turtles

When Chris Kavelauskas found a smashed turtle on the road near the transfer station, she was dismayed. Chris, a member of Carlisle's Conservation Commisssion, is also a professional in the field of wetland biology, and she knew that the turtle on the road was a spotted turtle, which is deemed "a species of special concern" in the state listings of wetland wildlife. Shortly after she found the spotted turtle, she assisted a painted turtle across the road on Brook Street.

Why so many turtles? In June, female turtles leave their wetland habitat and travel to a favored sandy space to lay eggs. They then cover the eggs and return to water by a path that often crosses the roads we travel. The eggs, if they survive predators, will hatch in September and the small turtles will head back to water. All but two turtles, the snapping turtle and the painted turtle, are of special concern in Massachusetts.

Residents who value wildlife are asked to be particularly watchful in early June. If a turtle is on the road, you can protect it by helping it across the road, but proceed with caution. Snapping turtles are easily identified by the saw-tooth rear edge of their carapace and they can be dangerous. It is advisable to lift them with a shovel. Alternatively, you can stay at the site a few minutes and alert other cars until they have crossed. The turtles know where to head and you don't have to worry about that. You may also see them sunning themselves or moving to sandy areas at Foss Farm or other open areas. These turtles are not lost and they are not in danger, so enjoy them where you find them

Kavalauskas suggests you might also call the conservation commission office to report what you saw (if you know) and where you saw it.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito