LONG ISLAND — Autumn is a time to enjoy leaf peeping, pumpkin picking, and many other outdoor activities. But for some wildlife species, the fall means spending time in hibernation.
According to experts, that could cost them their lives. They've said turtles are at risk as they attempt to find a spot to hibernate during these times.
Karen Testa is the executive director/president of Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons.
She said there are concerns about Long Island’s turtles being injured or killed by human activity this time of year.
Thousands of land and aquatic turtles are on the move, many across roads, in their attempt to find a spot to settle. The reptiles have begun to dig in for the winter — the instinctive behavior of hibernation which protects them until spring.
“I’m urging everyone to be very aware of turtles when you’re driving. They’re very vulnerable this time of year, as their natural instinct is to do what they’ve done for millions of years — regardless of roads — and that is to find a safe location where they can spend the winter,” says Testa.
The COVID-19 crisis has led to more people fleeing the city and relocating to the Long Island, which poses even more of a risk.
Testa said keeping the turtles healthy is crucial to keeping many species alive.
So, if you happen to stumble across an injured turtle, contact the sanctuary. And the next time you’re behind the wheel, be sure to watch out for animals. That includes the very vulnerable turtle population.