Warning to Rockland County drivers: Take it slow, turtles crossing

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Carolina Leid reports from Clarkstown. (WABC)

Police in Rockland County are warning motorists to be on the lookout for some slow-moving pedestrians on local roads: turtles.

The Clarkstown Police Department says it is egg-laying season for the common snapping turtle and they are crossing area roads in large numbers.

According to police, these giant turtles migrate from water to lay their 40-70 eggs in a hole they dig out with their hind legs, then cover and let solar energy do the incubating.

In a time when so many of us are often so pressed for time.

"It was going this way," a driver said.

We find a turtle teaching a very valuable lesson of slowing down and enjoying the moment.

From mid-May until mid-June, snapping turtles lay their eggs in Rockland County in a journey that sometimes comes with dangerous obstacles.

Nests are sometimes up to a mile from water, sometimes right in the path of speeding cars.

"We want to get down there pretty fast. Just help slow the traffic and see if the turtle is OK. We've picked them up and moved them, but you have to be careful," said Carolyn Hill, a volunteer.

That's where Hill and dozens of residents come in.

After seeing the slow moving reptiles get hit and killed, they decided to volunteer their time and help get the giant turtles across busy Western Parkway in Blauvelt and West Nyack.

"Some stranger stopped me today. I crossed three to four turtles this morning and she stopped me and said, 'What a nice thing you're doing.' People are just happy," said Jill Florencia, a volunteer.

Some say it's pulled this community together, getting strangers to stop and say "hello", all thanks to a little help from an unlikely place.

"Please stay alert and yield to the turtles," Clarkstown police said in a message on Facebook.

For more information see the Turtles of Western Highway Community group on their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/whturtles?ref=hl

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