Tips for Helping a Turtle Cross the Road

Jul 1, 2019

Turtles are on the move once the weather gets warm—but sometimes, a road or a highway stands between them and their destination. Speeding traffic and slow-moving turtles don’t mix, and many turtles are severely injured or killed on roads.

The Cape Wildlife Center has reported an increase of turtle injuries this year, said the Wareham Department of Natural Resources in a Facebook post. 

On Wednesday, June 26, a large snapping turtle was struck by a vehicle on Route 28. The turtle was transported to Cape Wildlife Center to care for shell damage and injuries sustained, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

The Department asked residents to use caution when driving and let turtle cross the street safely. 

“Your safety is a priority but if it is safe to do so, assisting a turtle cross only takes a minute,” the post continued.

The Department of Natural Resources advised residents to never pick up turtles by their tails because they can sustain injuries. For larger turtles, such as snapping turtles, people should approach them from the back and they can then be moved by holding the back of the shell and rear legs. If possible, the turtle’s front legs should be kept on the ground, like in a wheelbarrow race. People should always keep turtles moving in the same direction that they were headed.

Turtle should be carried as low to the ground as reasonably possible to minimize injuries if dropped. 

According to the department’s Facebook post, turtles are stronger than people might expect and have sharp claws. If possible, people should wear gloves and make sure to stay out of range of the turtle’s fast and powerful bite.

For assistance, call the Department of Natural Resources 508-291-3100 x 3180.