Published on June 13, 2022

Sanctuary Visitors Urged to Drive Carefully for Box Turtles

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Wellfleet Bay is home to a number of Eastern Box Turtles, a land turtle that generally sticks to a limited home range in the woods or the edges of fields. But early summer is their breeding season and box turtles may travel more widely as they seek out mates and lay their eggs.

Because box turtles can frequently cross the sanctuary driveway and parking lot at this time of year, we ask all sanctuary visitors to drive no faster than 15 miles an hour and to keep an eye out on the pavement for anything that may initially look like a pine cone or a rock. It may well be a box turtle (as seen in the photo).

If You See a Box Turtle

If you see a turtle in the driveway, you can help by pulling your car over to the side and moving the turtle to a safe distance off the pavement in the direction the turtle was heading. Box turtles typically withdraw into their shells and may remain that way even after you stop handling them.

Assisting box turtles or other nesting turtles at this time of year helps ensure that our native turtles will have a productive breeding season this summer and in the years to come.

Learn more about Eastern Box Turtles and Wellfleet Bay’s ongoing study of the sanctuary’s turtles.