World Turtle News, 11/03/2017
Dying for love
You see them here, you see them there, turtles are crossing roads everywhere – but why?
The answer is sex.
It’s arguably the only reason that could explain why so many native long neck turtles are driven to cross major highways and back roads despite their fear of the traffic.
Unfortunately it’s that same fear which triggers a retreat into their shells leaving them stranded on roads looking like a small cow pat or plop of mud.
University of New England zoologist Professor Stephen Wroe explains that, like other reptiles, turtles are basically dormant through the winter months, becoming active again in the spring, and particularly when there’s rain.
“The females are looking for other dams and waterways with a view to finding a male to mate with,” he said.
Their movement can extend into summer; and rain – either approaching or after it’s fallen – seems to encourage their travels.
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Photo from Heidi Gibson.