WELLFLEET – Don Lewis could barely contain the admiration he felt for a female terrapin turtle, who, despite being run over by a car last week, continued to struggle inland to lay her eggs. Her shell was badly cracked on both the top and bottom. She was bleeding, dehydrated and weak after spending the night crawling towards a spot to lay her eggs on a Lieutenant Island beach.
As if loss of habitat and increased numbers of suburban predators weren’t enough, turtles get hammered as they travel to inland nesting sites by an even tougher opponent – cars.
“It is one of the major threats for our state-listed (under the state’s endangered species act) species,” said Lori Erb, turtle biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
This summer, turtles got hit especially hard, after a wet and cold June delayed nesting by a month, so that peak nesting coincided with peak summer traffic. That means more turtles getting hit as they attempt to cross roads bordering wetlands and creeks to upland nesting spots.
Read the rest of this story in tomorrow's Cape Cod Times and find out if the plucky turtle survived long enough to lay her eggs.
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