Turtle Mortality on the Road

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rip18
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Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by rip18 »

This is a newspaper report. I don't know if this was just a class project or part of a master's thesis. The results are unfortunately not too surprising...

http://www.wlox.com/story/20434142/coll ... dark-twist

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Kari Post
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Kari Post »

I just read this. Pretty sad.

Bob McKeever
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Bob McKeever »

Thought i'd offer a little historical perspective on the subject of people intentionally runing over turtles on the road.

In the mid-1960's I ran across a newsletter published by a group whose name included the words "Turtle Poppin" or something very similar. Their reason for existence was to hold road rallies in the Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C. area to see which participant could "pop" the most turtles with their vehicle on the day the rally was held.

Think these guys could organize & survive today's climate. The times they have a-changed to some extent, although not enough according to this post.

Bob

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Nick Scobel
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Nick Scobel »

I'm never surprised anymore when I read stories like this. Besides nest predation, I don't think there's a greater threat to turtle populations than road mortality. Roads already become littered with DOR turtles during nesting season due to high fragmentation of primary habitat and nesting sites for many species, so the fact that many motorists run down turtles for fun is even more concerning. Most of these situations seem to take place in a higher frequency within people who would consider themselves to be conservative, makes me sick.

Image

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Dell Despain
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Dell Despain »

I wonder if a plastic turtle filled w/ nails and screws wouldn't put an end to purposely running over turtles on the side of the road. I've got a little Monkey Wrench Gang in me. (Great book by Edward Abby.) I wouldn't even feel bad about all the flat tires this simple retaliation could produce.

-Dell

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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by SnakeDude »

What a coincidence! i just read this in our paper a few minutes ago. Really sad. It seems like there was a video posted a while back where a guy made a video with a test like this, though it was more geared toward snakes... Its weird how people even kill turtles, and then go and say how cute and cuddly they are, but they kill snakes just as much. and they never say anything about them being cute and cuddly. Just a pointless observation...

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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by SnakeDude »

BTW, Dell, thats a great idea lol :thumb:

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by chris_mcmartin »

Regardless of one's feelings about people who willfully run over turtles, I'm fairly certain "booby-trapping" roadside objects to intentionally cause harm would be illegal in most, if not all, jurisdictions as "reckless endangerment" or something similar.

Would you be as excited about spiking fake turtles if you ended up killing a child passenger?

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gbin
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by gbin »

chris_mcmartin wrote:Would you be as excited about spiking fake turtles if you ended up killing a child passenger?
Ouch! Go right for the jugular, why don't you? You're right though, of course, Chris. As hateful as the misbehavior is, we've got to find ways to deal with it that are targeted, legal and safe.

I hope the holidays are happy for you and yours, amigo!

Gerry

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Dell Despain
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Dell Despain »

chris_mcmartin wrote:roadside objects to intentionally cause harm would be illegal in most, if not all, jurisdictions as "reckless endangerment"
Well duh. The intent would be "not" to be caught in the act.
chris_mcmartin wrote:Would you be as excited about spiking fake turtles if you ended up killing a child passenger?
Oh for gods sake Chris.
First of all I don't know where you read that I was excited in my statement. But no I wouldn't be interested in "killing a child" because of a turtle spiking act. :roll:
Could that happen? Sure maybe, but in that case the driver could also hit a real turtle and slide off the road when hitting said turtle and roll his vehicle killing himself and child passenger. And while we're at it, he also rolled into the farmers propane tank near his house and blew up the house and all occupants in the house. Leaving his cats homeless, who became feral, and started eating turtles to survive. doh!

I feel terrible now, thanks a lot.

-Dell

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Dell Despain
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Dell Despain »

gbin wrote:we've got to find ways to deal with it that are targeted, legal and safe.
How about making it illegal to purposely run over turtles.

I like my idea better, bring in the turtle spikes and let karma hand out a bitch slap. 8-)


-Dell

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by chris_mcmartin »

Dell Despain wrote:feel terrible now, thanks a lot.
Honestly, I think it's good that you do...there'd be something seriously wrong with someone who took pleasure in what at best is vandalism, and at worst is manslaughter.

Like I said, I sympathize with those who say "something" should be done; I've stopped to photo a slider in the road only to have an oncoming car swerve to hit it less than 10 feet from me (it was on the center stripe)...but endangering people's lives is not the way to do it. Even if you wrote what you did in jest, I'd hate for someone to put the idea into practice and then it came out in a trial that it was discussed on FHF.

As far as it being illegal (intentionally running over turtles), in most places it probably already is--but good luck trying to get LE to actually write a ticket, or investigate. Remember, the headlines and funding come from busts of those of us who keep and breed herps--we're all poachers, right?--not from citing a good ol' boy for just havin' a little fun.

I know I sound like a wet blanket, but I have friends posting similar "let's put nails/spikes etc in turtles" threads elsewhere, and I think it undermines the integrity of the herping community to do so.

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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Shane_TX »

I think swerving to hit any animal should be illegal as it poses a danger to the person swerving, passengers inside that vehicle, and any other vehicles on the road.
Some (perhaps most) states have regulations that deal with wanton waste of wildlife. It's hard to enforce on roadways. It's stupid to swerve at high speeds in any case, and that includes wildlife avoidance.

Always interesting to see the unthinking wannabe vigilantes on this forum.

Shane

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Dell Despain
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Dell Despain »

chris_mcmartin wrote:there'd be something seriously wrong with someone who took pleasure in what at best is vandalism, and at worst is manslaughter.
Shane_TX wrote:Always interesting to see the unthinking wannabe vigilantes on this forum.
I'll bet you two have sucked the life out of a few parties in your days. :|

I'm going to go watch a couple of Dirty Harry movies, and finish the day off with Inglorious Bastards.

Don't run over those turtles.

-Dell

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Sam Sweet
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Sam Sweet »

Regarding getting help on this from LE, I recall one time when some kids found a beautiful big Nerodia that a concerned citizen had run over. The kids were also concerned, and put a bunch of roofing nails up through its belly and laid it out on the shoulder. They sat in some roadside bushes to see how many children they could maim and kill, but all they got was a state trooper who ran over the snake, backed up over it, and hit it again.

The only thing those kids learned, Chris, was to pick bushes farther into the woods next time, because it took a long time for another cop to bring the second spare tire.

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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Shane_TX »

I'll bet you two have sucked the life out of a few parties in your days.
It started with the topic of turtle mortality on the road. Is this a party :lol:

Shane

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Dell Despain
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Dell Despain »

Shane_TX wrote:Is this a party
Well it could be, but I'm sure you'd put an end to that. Damn kids stay off of my lawn. ;)
Sam Sweet wrote: Regarding getting help on this from LE, I recall one time when some kids found a beautiful big Nerodia that a concerned citizen had run over. The kids were also concerned, and put a bunch of roofing nails up through its belly and laid it out on the shoulder. They sat in some roadside bushes to see how many children they could maim and kill, but all they got was a state trooper who ran over the snake, backed up over it, and hit it again.

The only thing those kids learned, Chris, was to pick bushes farther into the woods next time, because it took a long time for another cop to bring the second spare tire.
Hahahahahahahaha. Wow. :shock: I'm glad no one was hurt. :)

-Dell

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by chris_mcmartin »

The message now seems to be "Well, of course we don't want anyone KILLED, but a little destruction of private (or public) property is Good and Should Be Encouraged."

For every "no physical harm done" story there is at least one "death" story. First link when searching for "tire blowout death" was this one, aimed at police and it mentions an estimated 535 fatalities per year due to tire blowouts.

Does the herping community as represented here think consciously constructing and emplacing roadway hazards (e.g. spiked fake turtles) will increase, decrease, or have no effect on tire-related traffic fatalities? More importantly, do you find this legally, or more importantly, morally defensible? In other words, do you equate the willful possible killing of a human being on a par with the killing (willful or inadvertent) of a turtle? I can't ally myself with that message.

Maybe y'all are joking about undertaking such activities, but I sure don't want MY name associated with such talk on here. Small talk at parties (even when I don't suck the life out of them!) is different, because context and tone can convey a much different intent than what is published for the world to see here. I've seen other threads where links are posted for specific types of tire spikes to use, but I don't think LE would take kindly to such action:

Police Seeking Culprit in Highway Vandalism

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by chris_mcmartin »

Just to be clear: I have no beef with any of y'all on a personal level. I DO have a BIG problem with posting suggestions to enact "our" (herping community's) own brand of justice on people running over turtles, regardless of their intended spirit (humorous or otherwise).

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by chris_mcmartin »

IndigoBlue wrote:Yes, I know this. It is often not enforced. Wreckless driving on the other hand is easy to enforce if seen and/or caught in the act.
The word you're looking for is "reckless"...I would hope we all strive for "wreckless" driving. :thumb:
Areas where turtles are known to cross roads in higher numbers would be a good starting point for LE to watch if we can just get them to focus on such a thing. Maybe folks can try and record as much as possible in areas where turtles head onto roadways and if enough people report, LE would take notice.
Unless there was some geographic feature channelizing turtle movement into one small area, such as what happens with amphibians moving to/from breeding locations, it'd be challenging to find an area where there is sufficient concentration of animals on the roadway to merit LE attention. Waste of game, or at least hunting without a license, would be the citation, should there be an official who happened to be present when someone ran over a turtle.

Funny, though, how in some places, if you stop to move an animal off the road, or just to photograph it, you can have LE show up within thirty seconds assuming you're up to no good, but these turtle-killers get a pass. :(

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Dell Despain
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Dell Despain »

chris_mcmartin wrote:The message now seems to be "Well, of course we don't want anyone KILLED, but a little destruction of private (or public) property is Good and Should Be Encouraged."
Reading between the lines is a magical and mysterious craft, is that what the message says now? Despicable.

-Dell

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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by Shane_TX »

Good deal. Now it's time for a vote (or am I confusing this with NAFHA?)

All those in favor of booby trapping the roadways with nail-ridden herps say aye.

All those who disagree don't bother because you'll lose your cool card :lol: We can't all be herper rock stars like Dell et al.

Next up, how will Dell deal with Blake Shelton. It will be epic, for sure.

Shane
It's a party now!

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ahockenberry
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

Post by ahockenberry »

Perhaps the best course of action against this behaviour is education - and it should start in the schools or
community centers or local malls - anywhere people go- to help everyone understand that wildlife and box turtles
in particular are not an in-exhaustable resource - box turtles have become very scarce in many places -and they
have a high mortality rate for a lot of reasons.

Too many people view reptiles and amphibians in the same way they view insects - as something to be swatted or eliminated from the landscape - however, I try to remind people of the value they bring to the environment and how much
we need them.

Also, I have "rescued" countless turtles from crossing the road - which is probably how I will end up dying -getting hit by a car helping a turtle cross the road

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Mark Brown
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Re: Turtle Mortality on the Road

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