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The Missouri Department of Conservation urges drivers to be cautious on the roads this spring and give turtles a "brake."

The reptiles are often hit by cars during the warmer months but are at special risk in the spring because they are more active.

Common turtles spotted crossing Missouri roads include three-toed box turtles, ornate box turtles and snapping turtles.

Turtles emerge from their burrows and begin the hunt for food and mates during warm and wet conditions, which can lead them to cross roadways, oftentimes resulting in death. Thousands of box turtles are killed every year by vehicles.

Young males make up most of the travelers, sometimes wandering as much as six miles searching for territories and mates. Females are also crossing the roads in search of nesting areas.

Turtles are cold-blooded creatures and depend on external sources of heat to determine their body temperature. This is why people see them on warm asphalt during cool, spring days.

Vehicles are one of the leading factors in box turtle declines, and the department urges motorists to be cautious and slow down when they see a turtle in the road.

Sports on 04/16/2019

Print Headline: Agency urges motorists to give turtles a 'brake'

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