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May 20, 2024

It’s Turtle Crossing Season!
Slow Down and Let Them Cross Safely

In May and June, aquatic turtles such as the eastern painted turtle and American snapping turtle, will be leaving their watery habitats of ponds, rivers, and wetlands to set out and find suitable nesting sites to lay their eggs. For many, this includes crossing many of our busy roadways. 

The eggs deposited in spring will hatch in late August to early September. Many hatchlings will also attempt to cross roadways to reach watery habitats. Drivers can help ensure safe crossings by slowing down on the roads and watching for our native turtles.   

You can help a turtle cross the road. Be aware and careful of passing cars. When safe, gently pick the turtle up with both hands (unless it is a snapping turtle) and move them in the direction that they are headed. Place the turtle a few feet off the road. Do not assume that they are going toward water, and please do not attempt to relocate them. 

Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife provides recommendations for handling turtles when helping them to cross roadways: 

  • Please support the turtle by holding them with two hands, one on each side of the shell between the front and back legs.
  • Never hold a turtle just by its top shell or carapace, as this will hurt it, and will not give you a secure hold on it. You also do not want to grab a turtle by its tail, as this too will cause pain and injury.
  • If it is a large turtle like a snapping turtle, gently shepherd it across the road with a stick or a broom or get help in herding a large snapping turtle across the road.  

Wild turtles need to remain in the wild.  Although many are charmed by our native turtles, any species found in the wild should never be kept as a pet. In Rhode Island, it is illegal to remove an any native reptile of amphibian from the wild, as many of them face severe population declines that could lead to local extinction.

Learn more about native turtles! Live turtles can be observed at the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium in Bristol, Rhode Island. Visitors can get up-close with a northern diamondback terrapin and an eastern painted turtle as well as discover other marine life found in local habitats and Narragansett Bay. For more information, visit

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Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium CLOSED on June 8 & 9

The Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium will be closed on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, 2024 for a private event; this includes access to the upper grounds and trails from our parking lot. Learn more about renting the Center for your next gathering.

In May and June, turtles and other wildlife will set out to find suitable nesting sites to lay their eggs. Eggs hatch in August in September. For many, they'll need to cross busy roads to access their habitats and nesting sites. Learn tips on how to help them cross, and about the other threats they face.

Join naturalists from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and the Providence Urban Wildlife Conservation Partnership for a free GUIDED BIRD WALK in Providence on Wednesday, May 22, from 12-1. This lunchtime walk is hosted in partnership with the National Parks Service and one of their Rangers will be joining us at the Roger Williams National Memorial in downtown Providence. Get the details, here.