As the weather arms up this weekend, and you travel Illinois' roadways, be on the look out for traveling turtles. 

Springtime and turtles go together in Illinois, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) wants you to be aware of and increasing number turtles on Illinois roadways this spring.

With temperatures this weekend expected to warm up into the sixties, as you are walking, bicycling or driving, you may be sharing the road with extra 'turtle traffic.' Why now? Because at this time of the year, female turtles are returning from their winter nesting place to their warmer climate habitat.

Hey, if you were cooped up all winter, you would want o get out and stretch your four reptilian legs.

Vehicles are very serious danger to turtles that may cross roadways and move a very slow speed. Who has ever seen a fast turtle? The IDNR is asking motorists to be extra vigilant as temperatures warm up for these creatures. If you do see one crossing the road contact with one when driving, the IDNR advises you to:

  • Allow the turtle to cross the road by itself, if at all possible.
  • If you pick up the turtle, move it quickly to the side of the road that the turtle was heading for and let it go.
  • All turtles except snapping turtles and softshell turtles should be picked up along the edge of the shell at about the middle of the body.
  • Be aware that you may bitten or scratched and that the turtle will probably urinate on you.
  • Don’t drop the turtle
  • Never pick up any turtle by the tail

Snap! Snap! Not all turtles are friendly. If you want to help the turtle cross the road, use a broom, stick or shovel to nudge it along.

I would also strong advise not stopping on a major roadway without turning on your emergency flashers