How to help turtles safely cross the road

How to help turtles safely cross the road

With the warm weather approaching, our shelled friends will soon be on the move. With their mental maps set, they will head from their hibernation sites to nesting areas and spring/summer ponds and lakes. This often puts them in danger as they attempt to cross roads.

If you happen to be driving and see a turtle in the road and can safely pull over, here is how you can help get them to safety.

ALWAYS move the turtle in the direction it is facing. Even if you think where they came from is more suitable, they know where they wish to go and will only head back into danger once you have left.

For small turtles such as painted, spotted, or box turtles–think sandwich! Picking up the turtle on either side of its shell (how you hold a sandwich) is the safest way to move them in the direction they are headed.

If you find a baby turtle, don’t worry–it is not an orphan. They have amazing instincts and know how to survive on their own. Please remember that it is illegal and unethical to take home wildlife that you come across.

For large snapping turtles – never pick them up by the tail or leg, this will only cause harm to them. To help them across the road you should approach from behind, hold the back of the shell near the rear legs, keeping the front end pointing down (they have long necks), lift only a few inches off the ground and move them to safety. They do have sharp, strong claws so using gloves will protect your hands.

If you find an injured turtle please move to a secure box in a dark, quiet place and contact a reptile wildlife rehabilitator.

Wildlife Rehabilitators

To find a licensed rehabilitator near you, follow the link below. If you can’t get in touch, leave a message.

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