Happy World Turtle Day from all of us at Liberty Science Center!
Use today as a reminder to keep your eyes peeled for eastern box turtles on the road. Now that the weather is warmer, you’ll see these animals crossing the road trying to find a mate, food, water, or nesting spot
Unfortunately, many turtles are injured or killed from vehicle strikes. They have a difficult time hearing an oncoming car, and an even more difficult time trying to move out of the way.
If you happen to see a turtle crossing the road, the best thing you can do is check your surroundings, be aware of other drivers, and observe the turtle at a safe distance while allowing it to cross the road on its own. You should never pick up a wild animal.
The eastern box turtle is a mostly terrestrial species, preferring woods and meadows. Unfortunately, habitat destruction and being illegally collected as pets have caused the box turtle population to decline in New Jersey to the point where they are currently listed as a Species of Special Concern.
If you see a box turtle in the wild, you can help by reporting its location to the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program by submitting a Sighting Report Form.
The box turtle is just one of many species of turtles we have in our state. There’s also common map turtles, common musk turtles, common snapping turtles, diamondback terrapins, eastern mud turtles, and spotted turtles, to name a few. New Jersey also has wood turtles, which are listed as threatened, and bog turtles, which are endangered.
You can see turtles on your next visit to Liberty Science Center! Wild Eastern Box Turtles regularly come out for our Animal Encounter program. You can also see our red-footed tortoises and wood turtle in our Eat and Be Eaten exhibition, and our diamondback terrapins in the Our Hudson Home exhibit.