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Halifax police warn motorists after snapping turtle hit during morning rush hour

Last Updated Jun 21, 2018 at 3:40 pm EST

HALIFAX – Halifax police fear carnage on a busy city highway because of the slowest-moving of creatures: turtles.

A snapping turtle was euthanized Thursday after being hit on a roadway separating a busy shopping district from a popular park.

Const. Holly Tooke says she and her partner responded to calls about the turtle on Highway 111 near Dartmouth Crossing at around 8 a.m. during the morning rush hour.

“By the time we arrived, the turtle had already been hit,” she said. “Several people already stopped but unfortunately the turtle had been struck already.”

They put the 20-pound reptile in their cruiser and took it to a veterinarian, but it was put down.

“The shell was completely cracked and much of the bone had been exposed,” she said.

A call came in soon afterwards about another, “extremely big” turtle in the same area. She said it was returned safely to nearby Shubie Park in a canvas bag.

She warned motorists to drive carefully in the area during nesting season — such calls are not unusual at this time of year.

She said a turtle collision can be traumatizing — but swerving to avoid them can cause far more serious problems.

“We’re asking motorists to drive with care — understand that you’re driving near a wildlife-rich area there at Shubie Park. Ensure that if they have to swerve, they’re doing it with care,” she said.

“You don’t want to hurt or injure an animal, but again you don’t want to cause an accident.”

In 2014, a 25-year-old woman who stopped to help a group of ducklings on the side of a Montreal-area road was found guilty of criminal negligence in the deaths of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who slammed into the woman’s parked car.