When I worked in wildlife rehabilitation, people would often bring in uninjured turtles they found in the middle of the road. We would always ask the person if they could go back to where they found the turtle and place him safely on the other side of the road. The important part was making sure he was placed in the same direction he was going.

The reason for this is the turtle is on a mission, he could be looking to breed, or if it’s a female she could be looking for a good place to nest. If you flip him around he will just turn around and will be right back on that road again. If he is released elsewhere he will be truly lost, causing him great stress trying to find his territory again.

For most turtles, you can grab them by both sides of the shell behind the legs and carry them across. For a large turtle that has a long tail, it could be a snapper. Do not pick them up! Picking them up by the tail is also a no no, they can often stretch around and bite your leg. The safest way to get them off the road is to move them along with a blunt object, such as a snow shovel. I have also pushed them along with a rubbermaid container with great success. The idea is to put something between you and the turtle, also being sure not to injure the the turtle in the process.

If you see any signs of injury to the turtle such as a cracked shell or blood, call your local wildlife rehabber and they can instruct you on what to do.

As tempting as it may be, DO NOT take a found turtle home as a pet. This turtle has lived out on its own for a long time, possibly 50 years or more. We are not doing it a favor “rescuing” it and putting it in a tank. If you are interested in owning a pet turtle, please visit your local pet store or a private breeder. They have young turtles ready to be adopted.


Snapping Turtle

It may seem like a small gesture to pick up a turtle and carry him a few feet, but for that little guy you have most likely saved his life!