Turtle alert! Michigan State Parks are warning residents to watch out for baby turtles.

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Did you know that September is turtle hatching season in Northern Michigan? Turtles mate in the spring, with the eggs maturing over the summer. Now it's time to welcome the baby turtles to the world.

According to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, snapping turtles usually never leave the water - except during mating season. That's when they can travel as far as a mile from water to lay their eggs. In early summer, females use their strong hind legs to dig a shallow, sandy nest.

NPS/B. Appleby
NPS/B. Appleby
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A female turtle can lay up to 40 eggs! Once the eggs are laid, the mom covers the nest with dirt and leaves the eggs to mature. Because they are not protected, turtle nests are very vulnerable. Did you know as many of 90% of all turtle nests are destroyed by scavengers? So we have to do what we can to protect them!

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Facebook
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Facebook
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After the two or three months in the nest - right around this time each year - the turtles are ready to hatch, which can take several days. The baby turtles will then need to dig out of the ground. Once they are out, they are on the move! The little ones rush to the nearest water so they can start to grow.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Facebook
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Facebook
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So, watch your feet for baby turtles! They nest on or even under the ground. Baby turtles are small and vulnerable, so please don't step on them!

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore says,

If you see a nest, leave it aloe. These babies have somewhere to be!

Find more on turtles from the Michigan DNR here

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