Green Visions: how to safely move a turtle and other skills

Jun 15, 2016

Turtles are on the move throughout Minnesota, foolishly (or so it seems to humans) looking for that warm sandy soil on the shoulders of roads to lay their eggs.  Turtle-car collisions often end in tragedy for the turtle, but Wildwoods Rehabilitation says they're tougher than you might think.

How to move a turtle:

  • pick them up mid-shell
  • (turtles can pee when startled; don't drop them!)
  • move them across the road in the direction they were heading
  • don't relocate them; leave them where you found them (just safely on the other side)
  • keep the contact minimal

How to move a SNAPPING TURTLE:

  • DO NOT pick them up mid-shell (they have long necks)
  • DO NOT pick them up by the tail (you can injure or break their spines)
  • Use a snow shovel or a broom and gently scoot them across the road in the direction they were heading
  • It's best if they can get their under their own power (with a little gentle prodding from you)

If you have occasion to help a turtle cross a road, check out this page on the Minnesota DNR's website and scroll down to the Minnesota Turtle Crossing Tally & Count PDF under "Citizen Science."  The information you submit will be used to help determine turtle crossing and mortality areas around the state.