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Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

Last weekend I watched a guy pull over so he could rescue a turtle that was in the middle of the road.  Once he had the turtle in hand, he walked to the side of the road where the ditch was full of water and dropped the turtle, a painted turtle, splash, back in the water.

What if the turtle did not want to be in the water?

What?  Has my pointy-head finally gone crazy?  Everyone knows that turtles live in water?!

Read something on the interwebs this week about a big snapping turtle that was found in the middle of a field.  The comment was that there has been so much flooding that the turtle was heading to higher ground.

Nope, that is not it at all.  You might find turtles a long way from the water’s edge right now because they are looking for a place to spawn!  Actually, lay their eggs (remember, I am a fisheries biologist).  I admire the gesture to save a turtle on a busy road, but that turtle was there for a reason and she did NOT want to be back in the water!


If you are interested in Nebraska’s turtles, you must check out THIS WEBSITE.

I have mentioned painted and snapping turtles here, female painted turtles can lay up to 25 eggs, while snapping turtles may lay up to 60 eggs.  If the turtle eggs survive, predators love to dig ’em up and eat ’em, they will hatch in approximately three months, a little less for the painted turtles, depending on temperatures.  Something else that depends on temperatures during development is the sex of the baby turtles; cooler temperatures result in females while warmer temperatures result in males.

Once they hatch, the little turtles dig up out of their “nests” and head for the water, again dodging predators along the way.

And now you know why the turtle crossed the road!


“Leave me alone, I did not want my picture taken!”

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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