What You Need to Know about Turtle Season in New Jersey
I was driving to a doggie playdate when I noticed something in the road yesterday. "Is it a backpack?", I wondered. No. As I got closer I realized it was a very large turtle. Had I not been paying attention, I might have run right into (or over) it with my car. Thankfully, it got out of the road and moved on to the grassy field so I could continue moving my car in the direction I was heading.
When I told my friend what I had just seen, she said SHE had seen a big turtle in the same place the day before. Concerned that drivers might hit it, her instinct was to pick it up and move it out of the road.
Her story prompted me to look for some information so I would know what to do the next time I encountered such a thing. And since we are in the middle of Turtle Season in New Jersey, I thought the information might be of interest to you as well.
First, we need to be on the lookout for turtles where we don't usually see them. The reason they are out and about right now is that males are looking for females. And females are looking for places to lay their eggs.
If it looks like the turtle is in a bad spot and you want to move it out of harm's way, first make sure that you can do it safely. Make sure YOU are not at risk of getting hit by a car or causing an accident. If it's safe to do so, experts say you should lift up a small turtle by both sides of the shell behind the front legs. If it has a long tail, beware that it may be a snapping turtle and could hurt you. If it IS a snapping turtle, the safest way is to push or drag it by the two back edges of the shell. Get it to whatever side of the road it was heading in. If you see a turtle on its back, carefully flip it over. Don't lift it very high because if you lose your grip, you don't want it to fall very far.
This video actually shows some ways you can help save a turtle's life if you see one in a potentially dangerous place.
Have you ever encountered a turtle like this? Where in Ocean County was it?