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July 13, 2010

MADISON - Turtle season opens statewide July 15 and runs through Nov. 30. The open season does not include those species that are listed as endangered or threatened. The ornate box turtle, Blanding's turtle and the wood turtle are protected and may not be taken at any time.

Anyone who collects or possess native Wisconsin unprotected aquatic turtles must have one of the following licenses: Fishing, Small Game, Sports, Conservation Patron, Setline, or Set or Bank Pole. See the turtle Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Regulations (pdf) pamphlet for more information.

There are also reports in the northern part of the state that turtles are nesting later than the usual May-June period, and motorists are urged to be on the alert for turtles crossing roads and highways.

When turtles are nesting they begin the journey from their aquatic habitat near lakes, wetlands and streams to drier habitats where the female will deposit her eggs.

Although most turtles will stop moving when they feel or see an approaching vehicle, motorists are encouraged to do the following during nesting season:

Turtles are up against tough odds even without highway mortality. Three of Wisconsin turtle species are listed as either threatened or endangered species. As few as 5 percent of eggs laid survive to hatch and of those, only very few may survive to reproductive age. Natural predators of turtles and turtle eggs are many and include raccoons, skunks, fox, opossums, herons, egrets, seagulls, cranes, crows and others.

For more information on turtles in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin reptiles page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rori Paloski at (608) 264-6040

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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