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Motorists cautioned to slow down for turtles on coastal Route 1

Photo courtesy: Center for Inland Bays
Diamondback Terrapin about to cross Route 1


If you’re driving along the coast in the next couple months you might want to take a cue from a turtle and slow it down.


Nesting terrapin turtles are currently crossing the highway from Delaware’s inland bays to lay eggs on its sandy beach dunes. 

Conservationists are urging drivers to use extra caution when driving on Route 1 between Dewey Beach and Fenwick Island.     


More than 100 nesting terrapins are killed each year by motorists, according to Chris Bason,  executive director of Delaware’s Center for the Inland Bays.


These turtles can live for 25 years so the death of one female terrapin can prevent multiple generations from being born.  


It’s okay to help a turtle if you can do it safely, according to Bason.    

“If you see a turtle heading towards the dunes you can pick up that turtle and take it over across the highway to where it’s going in the dunes,” he said.


Terrapins are a species of concern in Delaware. It’s unclear how many of the turtles are in the state, but it’s clear their numbers are declining.

Coastal development has also affected the turtle’s population by encroaching on its habitat.  

The turtles will be crossing the highway through July.


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