Forget the chicken! Turtles are starting to cross New York roads.

Turtles are on the move in the months of May and June, looking for sandy areas and loose soil to lay eggs in. Thousands are killed each year in New York by vehicles while migrating to nesting places.

"A turtle's shell provides good protection from natural predators, but it cannot protect a turtle from being hit by a vehicle while crossing a road," said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos.

 

Credit - Karen Solorzano via Unsplash
Credit - Karen Solorzano via Unsplash
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Move Turtles to Safety

Drivers are encouraged to slow down to avoid hitting migrating turtles with their vehicles this spring. If it's safe to do so, turtles should be moved to the side of the road. But don't pick it up by the tail.

Most turtles, other than snapping turtles, can be picked up by the sides of their shell. Snapping turtles have necks that can reach a long distance and have a strong bite, so if motorists try to help a snapping turtle, they should pick it up by the rear of the shell near the tail using both hands or slide a car mat under the turtle to drag it safely across the road.

Credit - Fernando Mate via Unsplash
Credit - Fernando Mate via Unsplash
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Turtle Decline

Never take turtles home. They are protected by law and cannot be kept without a DEC permit because all 11 species of land turtles native to New York are in decline.

Turtles are long-lived species and it takes many years for a turtle to reach maturity. Even losing one mature female can have a negative impact on a local population.

Credit - Ruthlaine Tan via Unsplash
Credit - Ruthlaine Tan via Unsplash
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There are some animals you CAN own in New York and some may surprise you.

LOOK: Exotic Animals You Can Own In New York

Looking for an exotic pet to own legally in New York State? Here is a list of some animals that you can have aside from regular dogs, cats, and farm animals.

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