HARRISON, Ark. - Sometimes for turtles, love hurts.
"So right now probably the ones you see crossing the road about 90 percent are males looking for females," said Alan Gregory, a licensed turtle rehabilitator. "And then in a few weeks starting in about June you'll be seeing the females, and they're looking for places to lay eggs."
Alan and Terri Gregory have run Boone County Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation for three years. Both are licensed turtle rehabilitators for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. They have been saving the injured box turtles in the area they find or are brought to them.
They have patients with different injuries: turtles hit by cars, run over by lawn mowers, chewed up by dogs, burned during prescribed burns, or who have a nutritional deficiency in their eyes.
And there's very few turtle rescues in the area, since they are a complicated creature.
"You can't really close up a turtle shell that easily because as the turtles grow, anything you try to seal it with is going to expand or break," Gregory said.
The owners of the rescue said never put any kind of paint on a turtle's shell. It can harm the turtle.
The Gregorys have some advice if you see a turtle crossing the road.
"If there's a way to do it, yes," Gregory said. "Stop, pick the turtle up, and take him in the direction he's going. Don't take him back. We have heard people do that. And now the poor thing has got to start all over again."
They also suggest to check the grass for turtles before you mow the lawn.
Turtles also live in a very small territory, and they will always try to get back to their home.
"They're going to go across the highways, over the cliff, across the Mississippi River or whatever, and so they don't make it," Gregory said. "And that's why it's so critical in all of these things for people who pick up a turtle to leave it in its home. You're not helping it if you move it."
Unless it's injured, then you can bring it to a rescue like this one and tell them where you found the turtle.
Also if you save an injured box turtle, the Gregorys ask that you don't feed it lettuce. They like worms, bugs, bananas, and even dog food.
If someone has an injured turtle and needs help in this area you can contact the Boone County Turtle and Rescue Rehabilitation.
Their number is (870) 741-9357, and their Facebook page is www.facebook.com/boonecountyturtlerescueandrehabilitation/. They do take turtles outside of Boone County as well.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission list of wildlife rehabilitators is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NY0B2BwFLIIbSLHEHu59G9f2XkKlYvlH/view