LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - DNR officials want you to be on the look out for turtles and other baby animals crossing the road this summer.
The Wisconsin DNR says a lot of babies were born in the past month, and July is when a lot of them start moving around.
Turtles are especially active this time of year as they look for places to lay their eggs. They lay their eggs on dry land, and as the shoreline continues to develop, there's less of a natural habitat for them to nest. That means they have to travel farther to find a suitable nesting site, and sometimes that involves crossing roads.
Wisconsin DNR Wildlife Biologist Ron Lichte says to keep your eyes peeled if you're driving near the water.
"The big thing is to watch out for them with vehicles, especially around the river areas, the streams and stuff like that. A lot of times people don't see them or they see them too late and they hit them with their vehicles," said Lichte. "If drivers can keep an eye out, it's just one less hazard for them. They face a lot of different obstacles out there to make it in this world."
On top of roadway dangers and a shrinking natural habitat, the DNR says the turtle population is being threatened by predators like skunks and raccoons eating their eggs.
Drivers are being asked to slow down and give turtles the right of way if possible.
Lichte says if you do see a turtle trying to cross the road, you can give them a helping hand.
"Whatever way the turtle is pointed, the best you could do is maybe go and help it out by taking it to the other side of the road," said Lichte.
If you are driving and do decide to help a turtle, the DNR asks that you pull over to the side of the road to avoid other safety issues on the road.
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