GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — You might see more turtles on the road soon, according to John Ball Zoo.

Turtles are beginning to come out of hibernation due to warmer weather and they are heading between wetlands to feed and mate.

West Michigan has many rare turtle species like eastern box turtles and wood turtles, who have both been labeled as threatened species by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“Turtles often use different wetland areas for hibernation versus summer activity, and they seek out dry, sandy areas to nest in. These areas are often broken up by roads, parking lots and other human-made structures. One of the biggest threats to our local turtle populations is vehicles and roads,” Bill Flanagan, the conservation manager at John Ball Zoo, said in a release.

If you see a turtle in the middle of the road, the zoo recommends you move the turtle off the road in the direction it was heading, if it is safe to do so and you follow traffic laws.

You should not move them too far or put turtles in your car to relocate elsewhere.

“Turtles that are on the move are going to a specific place at a specific time,” Flanagan said. “It can often do more harm than good to relocate turtles to another place because they will face more danger getting back to their original destination.”

For snapping turtles, the zoo recommends using a floor mat from your car, guiding the turtle onto the mat and dragging it off of the road. Make sure to avoid the turtle’s mouth and feet to avoid bites and scratches.

Grand Valley State University, John Ball Zoo and seven community volunteers are working together to find which roads are the greatest risk to turtles. They will monitor 15 to 20 sites in the Grand Rapids-area to see how many turtles are hit by cars this year from April through September. They hope this data will help protect turtles in the future.

“We need as many people to care about these turtle species as we can otherwise these turtles face a rough future,” Travis Kurtz, the community science coordinator at John Ball Zoo, said in a release. “Our community volunteers play such a vital role in our conservation efforts. Collecting these data sets isn’t possible without their participation.”