Turtle nesting season is here, they could use your help

Snapping Turtle | Image Source: MGN
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Behind the Park Office Building at the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve in Suamico, a snapping turtle is using a pile of small rocks to build a nest

Jason Petrella, the Brown County Program and Natural Resource Coordinator says, "they like sandy soils, that are easy to dig, gravel. So kind of a loose substrate if you will. Like areas here at Barkhausen where we have these nice gravel trails, and these kind of sandy edges along the edge of the trails. That's perfect. They like that spot."

At a nearby pond, a painted turtle worked its way across a somewhat slippery log Wednesday morning.

"I'd say the two common turtles we see here are the painted turtle and the snapping turtle. But this is the time of the year now, where we're going to see turtles crossing roads, crossing lawns, laying their eggs in any space that they can find," says Jason.

Snapping turtles can grow to be two feet long and more than 20 pounds. They can hold on to just about anything within range of a strong sharp bite. You can help the turtles get across the road by using a broom handle to guide the reptile in the same direction it was going.

"They don't know if you're trying to help them, if you're trying to eat them. They're just doing what they should be doing, defending themselves," says Jason.

The snapping turtles can lay anywhere from 8-90 eggs.

By the end of the summer, tiny turtles hatch and can be seen crossing the roads again. This time trying to make it back to the relative safety of the tall grass