Why are there so many box turtles on Missouri roads? June is peak breeding season

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - YOu may be noticing the amount of box turtles on the highways. Some are making their way across, others sadly who didn't make it. Dan Zarlenga with the Missouri Department of Conservation talks about sharing the road.

Why are there so many turtles on the road?

• June is peak breeding season for turtles
• Males are looking for mates
• Establishing territories
• Females looking for nesting sites
• Heat of the pavement helps warm their bodies

What should motorists do if they see a turtle crossing the road?

• If it is safe to do so
• Slow down and try to steer around it
• Or straddle the turtle with the wheels so it stays safely between them
• Pull over and pick the turtle up and carry it to the side of the road it was going
• Stay alert and avoid driving distractions

Why is mortality caused by vehicles so dangerous for turtle populations?

• Turtles are long-lived species up to 50 years or more and reproduce at a low rate
• These fatalities occur during mating season, when they are trying to reproduce
• The number of deaths is alarming
• A recent count along Highway 63 near Jefferson City showed out of 116 turtles seen crossing the road, 104 had been hit by cars