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As the weather warms up, turtles are becoming increasingly mobile. If you see a turtle attempting to cross a road, here’s how you can lend a hand!
1. Stop and render assistance
If you spot a turtle in the road, pull over to a safe location and help the animal cross quickly. Small turtles can be picked up by holding the shell and body, between the front and back legs.
2. Use caution
Large turtles or snapping turtles should be handled as little as possible. It’s a good idea to put on a pair of gloves before gently encouraging the animal into a portable 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.
3. Turtles should always be moved in the direction that they were heading
If they’re moved back toward where they came from before entering the road, they’ll try to cross it again.
4. If you spot a turtle who is injured, never assume that the turtle is dead
Turtles have very slow metabolisms and can suffer for days, even weeks, before dying. Test for a reaction by pinching a back toe or very gently touching a corner of the turtle’s eyelid. Injured turtles must be contained and transported to a veterinarian or animal shelter immediately.
5. Don’t overdo it
Healthy, uninjured turtles should never be moved farther from the point at which they were found than is necessary to get them out of immediate danger. Moving turtles across the road to make sure that they don’t get hit is the right thing to do. Putting them in the car and driving them a few miles down the road is not!
For more tips, visit PETA’s “Wildlife Emergencies” page.
Image source: PETA