Turtle season is upon us

Turtle season is upon us
Jessica Wilson, Eastern Townshipper, spotted two turtles on the road in a single day: one in West Brome, the other in Cowansville. One of these was a snapping turtle, which she saved with the help of a car seat cover. (Photo : Jessica Wilson)

By Cassie MacDonell
Local Journalism Initiative

Eastern Townships residents are spotting an increasing number of turtles peeking their heads out of their shells after a long winter. Keep a vigilant eye on the roads and help a turtle in need.
“I saw three turtles while driving in the last two weeks, that’s how I can tell spring is here,” Megan Lennstrom, Sherbrooke resident, laughed. One of these turtles was in immediate danger.
“I didn’t really know what exactly to do when I saw (the turtle) because I was scared it would bite me, so I pulled over and spent literally five minutes on Google searching about what kind (of turtle) it was and how to move it,” she admitted. “I ended up finding a (web) page that said to hold it like a hamburger, so that’s how I moved it.”
A news release from Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) highlighted the proper method for transporting turtles, and Lennstrom was spot on. The “hamburger” method is widely used for non-aggressive turtles, like painted turtles. Gently lift the turtle with both hands, like a hamburger, and carry it across the road. Support its belly and back, and be sure to carry it close to the ground in case you accidentally drop it.
Snapping turtles, on the other hand, need to be approached with more caution. These turtles are grey, large, and have heavy, spiny tails. Luckily, these turtles have handle-like divots at the back of their shells. Use these “handles” on either side of its tail to lift the turtle’s back end, allowing the turtle to walk forward, like a wheelbarrow. Alternately, you can slide the turtle onto something, like a car mat, which will make it much easier to move. That’s what townshipper Jessica Wilson did, later snapping a photo of the snapping turtle, as pictured.
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