Saturday, September 12, 2015

Worker's snap decision saves turtle in Billerica

By Rick Sobey,

BILLERICA -- Instead of the chicken crossing the road, why does the turtle cross the road?

Actually, the more appropriate question on Wednesday in Billerica was: Who can help a very large snapping turtle cross the road?

Fred Baker of the Billerica Highway Department was the one to save the day, helping the snapping turtle get across Oak Street.

When he saw the turtle, Baker grabbed a neighbor's recycling bin. The heavy-equipment operator placed the turtle in the container and helped it across the street. He survived getting bit by the snapper, but it was close, said Highway Superintendent Ed Tierney.

Baker later told Tierney that he "did what anyone would do."

With many turtles native to Massachusetts labeled "endangered" and "threatened," it's more important than ever to save them, turtle enthusiasts say. For instance, the Groton Turtle Conservation tries to reduce the high injury and mortality rate of Groton's turtles on roads.

This wasn't the first Billerica Highway Department animal encounter. Last week, the department contacted Animal Control because a cat was stuck up in a tree. Animal Control called the Animal Rescue League of Boston, which came out to save the cat.

"We do come upon these once in a while," Tierney said, adding that employees and police once helped save six ducklings in a catch basin at the corner of Boston and Lasallette roads.

A very large snapping turtle was having a tough time getting across Oak Street in Billerica on Wednesday. He got some help from the Highway Department employee Fred who put him in a container and helped him across the street. SUN/JOHN LOVE

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