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Why Turtles Cross the Road

Updated: May. 22, 2021 at 2:01 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Every spring, motorists have to dodge turtles that are crossing the road. If you’ve ever wondered where they’re going, here are some answers. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, turtles are on the move in the spring for three primary reasons: Looking for a place to nest, looking for a place to park their “mobile home,” and, not surprisingly, looking for a mate.

Missouri has 18 types of turtles, and three of those are protected. They eat dead animals and insects, and they do not impact the supply of gaming fish. Francis Skalicky, a spokesperson for the conservation department, says turtles are our friends. “Some people think they’re cute, and want to keep them as pets,” he said. “But they really are happier in their natural environment.” Keeping a turtle in a tiny tank is not going to make him happy, he says.

If you’re one of those people who takes time to pull over to help the turtle get to the other side in one piece, Skalicky says that’s a good thing. It could save the turtle’s life. “Just make sure you take it in the direction it was headed,” he said.

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