Turtles… are those splashes you hear when approaching a lake shore, those “rocks” that move, the “crawler” crossing the road at any cost (if you can do it safely, you should pull over and help him but DON’T put him back where he came from, he’ll just start out again).
Maybe we don’t give turtles enough credit. They are the stuff of mythology, religion, and folklore. They are an integral part of the history of North Africans, Native Americans, Chinese, and other groups around the world. Turtles were here before the dinosaurs—and you notice which animal is still around.
But turtles in South Dakota often live a precarious existence. Five of the seven species found in our state are “listed,” that is, those five are either state endangered, state threatened, or rare. Since the presence of turtles tells us about the health of their environment—a part of our environment, too—we should take some time to understand these creatures and where they live.