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 a turtle in the road, always be sure to stop.
Get out of your car and help the turtle move in the direction he or she was heading.
Turtles know where they are going, and they will turn back into traffic if you don’t send them where they wanted to go.
- Small turtles can be picked up and carried across the road. Using both hands, you’ll want to 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 safely moved a short distance with the turtle on top of it.
If you spot a turtle who is injured and/or has been hit by a car, please don’t assume he or she 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 turtle’s eye lid (if possible). Injured turtles must be contained and transported to a vet or animal shelter right away where they could 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 have been hit. Turtles that are hit by cars are probably still alive and suffering badly. These turtles were still alive when people found them:
If they’re not injured, and not in the street—leave ’em alone!
Thanks for helping turtles!