DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is in need of volunteers to help ensure diamondback terrapins are able to nest and reproduce safely this spring.
Why did the diamondback terrapin cross the road?
It’s just about peak nesting season for diamondback terrapins. When the tides, temperature and humidity are right, a discerning eye can see hundreds of terrapin heads poking up from the water off Port Mahon (east of Dover, near Little Creek Preserve) as the female terrapins come ashore to lay their eggs.
There are large rocks along Port Mahon Road that protect against erosion and debris during high tide and storms. Terrapins have a hard time getting by these rocks, becoming trapped on either side or risking being hit by cars as they are stuck on the road.
As a solution, the Delaware Department of Transportation has placed two terrapin tunnels that run under the rocks. These wide concrete pipes have provided successfully safe passage in other locations, but this is the first nesting season where the tunnels are being used at this location.
With only two test tunnels in place, many terrapins may not be close enough to use one, so volunteers are needed to help the terrapins navigate into the tunnels or around the rocks,” said Wildlife Biologist Holly Niederriter, Division of Fish & Wildlife. “If terrapin passage through the tunnels appears to be successful, additional tunnels may be added along the road in the future.
Help monitor and guide the diamondback terrapins through the tunnels to nesting safety! Volunteer training is being offered beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18th on Port Mahon Road. To sign up, contact Chase McLean at 302-735-8669, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the event of inclement weather, training may be rescheduled.