Summertime is Turtle Time

Here’s how you can help out our turtles while they’re busy laying eggs…

As you explore Millican Reserve this summer, you’ll frequently notice small holes in the ground.  These tiny cavities cradle 2-30 turtle eggs each!  Turtle nests must be built in soft soil in close proximity to  water with plenty of sunlight, so nesting mothers can always find suitable locations at Millican Reserve. Sunlight is crucial because the temperature of the nest determines the sex of the offspring: warmer nests produce female young, while cooler nests produce males. You can see an example of a turtle nest in the gallery below!

Texas is home to 28 species of turtles, but the most common species you’ll find at Millican Reserve is red-eared sliders (photographed above).  They are easy to identify by the red stripe on the sides of their head.  You can help us protect the turtles in and around Millican Reserve this summer by taking just a few simple actions:

1. When taking part in an organized fishing event at Millican, try to avoid the nearby turtles.  A curious or hungry turtle may bite your hook and then pull its head into its shell, making the release process tedious and potentially dangerous for the turtle.  Keeping a watchful eye at all times can help you choose a location with minimal risk of hooking one.

2. If you see a turtle crossing a road, please help it on its journey!  Remember to only move the turtle in the direction it was heading, otherwise it will just cross the street again.  Rehoming turtles to a different or seemingly safer habitat may be tempting, but this can be costly to them since they will likely wander back towards the area they know, potentially putting them in a more dangerous situation than they were in before.

3. Other than helping them cross a street, please keep your distance from turtles as much as possible.  They may be small, but they are still wild animals.  Maintaining space between you and turtles is the easiest way to protect both yourself and the wildlife.

When you hit the trails this summer, keep an eye out for mother turtles and their young.  Your mindfulness is a key to keeping our friendly turtles safe and healthy at Millican Reserve.

Learn more about the Conservancy here. If you’re already a TrailPass holder or Conservancy member check out our Summer Trail Guide!

Shannon Turner

Conservancy Ranger

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