STORM LAKE, Iowa (KCAU) — Officials with the City of Storm Lake are reminding residents to be cautious and lend a helping hand as turtles begin to cross the road.  

According to a release from the City of Storm Lake, the arrival of spring has led turtles to begin crossing the road near Frank Starr Park and the Discovery Center area.  

The release specified that turtles will travel on dry land in connection to seasonal changes, during the annual early summer nesting migration of egg Laden females, or when newly hatched turtles seek out backwaters and ponds. Turtles can travel multiple miles during the course of one year and can sometimes be found far from water.  

Helping the turtles can help preserve regional populations of turtles, according to the release. Some outlined tips include:  

  • Pulling over and turning on hazard lights may alert other drivers to slow down. Always be aware of your surroundings and traffic.  
  • Avoid excessive handling, this can disrupt normal behavior.  
  • If they can cross without traffic becoming a risk, allow them to cross on their own. Maintain a reasonable distance and avoid rapid movements as this can cause them to change direction, stop, or withdraw into their shells.  
  • If handling turtles who are crossing, be gentle. Turtles should be grasped gently along the shell edge and near the mid-point of the body. Turtles empty their bladder when lifted, so it’s best to be careful not to drop them if they start to expel water.  
  • Turtles should be moved in the same direction they were already heading.  

Helping turtles cross the street should only be implemented if there is a danger of the turtle being run over. The release stated that it is best to remember, “if you care, leave it there.”