Mother Nature is full of baby stuff this weekend.
It's the time of the year that turtles are mating and dolphins are birthing their babies.
All up and down the South Jersey shore, turtles are crossing roadways, beaches, and pathways to get to the other side.
Why is the turtle crossing the road?
To get to the turtle of the opposite sex on the other side!
Actually a lot of the female turtles are now headed across the road to nest. According to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, now is the time that female terrapins are the most active.
According to the group, they have recruited volunteers to patrol roads to, "help ensure that these breeding age female turtles safely cross the road to complete their life cycle."
The Conserve Wildlife Foundation has some tips for humans giving assistance to turtles crossing the road:
- Stay safe. Never put yourself at risk. Make sure that you do not endanger yourself, or others, by walking into traffic.
- Keep a good distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- When safe to do so, pull your car over onto the shoulder. Turn on your hazard signals.
- When safe to enter the roadway, approach the turtle and carefully pick it up by grabbing its shell with both hands between its front and hind legs. HOLD ON. Terrapins have strong legs!
- It is important that you move the turtle in the direction that it is heading. They are not always headed directly towards water. They will turn around if you put them in the wrong direction, so work with their instincts.
- Place the terrapin off the road onto the soft shoulder (dirt or grass).
- If you have a GPS or a smartphone, take a photo and/or record your location so you can contribute your sighting to our project (link in comments).
- This is very important! Please DO NOT move a terrapin long distances to “somewhere safe!” They have very small home ranges and moving them will only hurt them.
- NEVER take them home to keep as a pet! This is wrong and illegal.
Over in the water, dolphins are busy birthing babies! (Well, calving.)
While we don't need to worry about dolphins jumping over our roads, boaters need to pay attention when their are dolphins with babies in the area. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center says, "should you encounter dolphins while spending the day out on the water, please practice safe boating around them, and give them plenty of space. Dolphin calves cannot swim as quickly as the adults and could be injured by boats and jet skis."