What to Do if You See a Turtle in the Road

Turtles are on the move this time of year, so keep a close eye out for them when you’re out driving (or riding in someone else’s car). 

Brake for turtles! If you spot one in the road, always be sure to stop. Get out of your car and help the turtle move in the direction they were heading.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Small turtles can be picked up and carried across the road. Using both hands, gently scoop the turtle up by holding the shell/body, in between the front and back legs. 
  • Large turtles or snapping turtles should be handled as little as possible. Wear gloves if you’ve got them, and gently encourage the turtle into a cat or dog carrier OR onto a solid, flat surface (like a piece of sturdy cardboard) that can be carefully moved a short distance with the turtle on top of it. 

If you spot one who has been hit by a car or injured in some other way, don’t assume the turtle is dead!

Turtles have slow metabolisms and can suffer for days, even weeks, before dying. Test for a reaction by pinching a back toe or very gently touching the corner of an eyelid (if possible). Injured turtles must be contained and transported to a veterinarian or an animal shelter right away to be treated or humanely euthanized to end their suffering. 

These photos are graphic, but they illustrate how important it is that you stop and check on turtles who may need help. Those who have been hit by cars are probably still alive and suffering. These turtles were still alive when people found them: 

If they’re not injured or not in the street, leave ’em alone! 

Thanks for helping turtles. 

Text peta2 to 30933 for ways to help animals, tips on compassionate living, and more!

heart illustration

Terms for automated texts/calls from peta2: http://peta.vg/txt. Text STOP to end, HELP for more info. Msg/data rates may apply. U.S. only.