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Jun 22, 2016 11:17 AM

Portsmouth family and officials urge drivers to slow down for turtles

PORTSMOUTH - Why did the turtle cross the road? The reason was probably not to get to the Shell Station, but rather to find a mate in a pond across the way.

Fish and Game officials said now is the time of year when male turtles move from pond to pond searching for mates, while the females cross to find sunny areas for egg-laying and nesting.

"Today, the biggest threat to turtle populations in New Hampshire is being struck by automobiles on roadways," according to a report by New Hampshire Fish and Game wildlife biologist Mike Marchand.

The state's Fish and Game advisory warns that some turtle species remain common, while others "are beginning to feel the effects of development and the associated increasing levels and speeds of traffic."

The issue of protecting road-crossing turtles inspired one Portsmouth family to act. The Hales told The Portsmouth Herald they put up signs warning about passing turtles after seeing one hit by a moped and the driver looking at it and taking off.

Six-year-old Eliza talked about her mom Kirsten "rushing outside" to rescue the turtle and carry it off to a nearby pond.

"They usually come out in the summertime," Eliza told the Herald, who said she and her brother Charley, 10, have seen "three or four, or five or six" turtles on Maplewood Avenue this year.

Fish and Game advises people who see turtles in a road to not move it far from where it was found. Turtle sightings can be reported to Fish and Game's Wildlife Division at (603) 271-2461.


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