Environmental Songbook

Why Do Turtles Cross the Road?

By Kathy Byers and Lydia Adams Davis

in One Earth So Green and Round by Kathy Byers and Lydia Adams Davis


“ Why do turtles cross the road?”
Asked my Dad as our car slowed
“They live over there in pond or bog
Swimming, sunning, basking on logs”
So why encounter a speeding car
To take such risk to go that far


“Stop”, I cried, “I learned in a book
Let’s guide her in the direction she took!
Mother is seeking a place that’s best
To lay her eggs in an underground nest
Place them safely beneath the ground
Well-tamped down where they cannot be found”


A season will pass, the egg tooth cracks
The shell gives way when it’s time to hatch
Coin-sized turtles claw up to the sun
Their newborn journey has begun
The scent of pond will guide their feet
Making their way to cross the street


Winter comes their heart slows down
Burrowed safely underground
In five short years their lives’ mature
Count the rings on their shell to be sure
Mating in playful water ballet
The cycle of life begins its sway


That’s why turtles cross the road
Instinct tells them where to go
No road can block the path they take
Nature’s plan makes no mistake
Let’s post a sign so all will know
“Turtle Crossing – Please Drive Slow!”
“Turtle Crossing – Please Drive Slow!”

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