When the weather begins to warm up, turtles are on the move. They may be searching for food or mates. Many of these turtles are females looking for nesting sites to lay their eggs.

What should I do if I see a wild turtle?

The best thing you can do when you find a turtle is to leave it alone. Sometimes people pick them up and take them home, releasing them back into the wild later. But turtles have home territories, and they rarely travel far from where they hatched. If a turtle is picked up and released somewhere else, it may keep wandering as it tries to find its old home. If it does stay in the new location, it will have to learn where to forage and overwinter and may not survive. 

What if the turtle is in the road?  

Turtles crossing the road are in danger of getting hit by oncoming cars. If you see a turtle in the road, you may be able to help. Only stop if you can pull over and cross the road safely. If you do stop, pick up the turtle near the midpoint of its body and carry it across the road in the same direction it was headed. If you take it back to the side it came from, it will just cross the road again.

What if the turtle is injured?

If you find a turtle that has been hurt, put it in a box and contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area. Be sure to write down the precise location where you found the turtle so it can be returned there once it has recovered.

For more information, check out these sites: 

The Wildlife Center of Virginia 

BoxTurtles.com

The Orianne Society 

 

 

Image by Ally White

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Written by Samantha Bell