Save a Snapper: Rescue Road Turtles!

Road Turtle

Why Does the Turtle Cross the Road? 

I saw a little green guy with cool red markings hanging out by the double yellow line the other day. I pulled over, got out of my car, and helped him to the other side. It was a good thing too. He nearly got squashed by an oncoming car before I reached him.

This little guy was small enough that I could grab him at the sides of his shell and his back legs barely reached my fingers. His head was also tucked deep inside after that car whizzed past within an inch of him. I don’t recommend this for larger turtles.

How to Rescue Road Turtles

According to the Turtle Rescue League:

  • When picking up a small turtle, grasp it on either side of its shell behind the front legs. The turtle will still be able to kick at you, but many will choose to stay safely tucked in, during the short time you are moving them.
  • Keep the turtle low to the ground when moving them. Even small turtles have surprising strength. If a turtle pushes free of your grip, you do not want it to fall and injure itself.
  • If the turtle is large (with a long tail), it may be a snapping turtle, they can be a bit aggressive and you might not want to attempt picking it up, but you can still help it across the road.

Save a Snapper: Watch and Learn

This video demonstrates multiple methods you could use to help a large Snapping Turtle across the road. If you can manage this, you can help almost any turtle!

Never Take a Wild Turtle Home

Unless transporting an injured turtle to the nearest vet or wildlife rehabilitation center, leave it in the wild. The world has enough imprisoned animals no longer allowed to lead the life they were meant to. You’ll do more good by respecting those who still have that option.

Spread the Turtle Saving Word!

Thanks to  Susquehannock Wildlife Society of Maryland for this handy reminder… Click and print the full size flyer!


Happy Rescuing!



  1. Great post! I’m a turtle saver 🙂 Though I admit I don’t go near the snappers.

    • Hello, Sue, my turtle-saving sister-in-arms! (Or is that sister-at-arms-length?)

      I’ve never handled a large snapper either, but that video give me the confidence that I could with the proper tools. Now I’m all “Bring one on!”

      Until that day comes, I find that just stopping my car in the lane to keep traffic from passing often works until the critter crawls all the way across. The bigger they are, the faster they tend to move. Oncoming drivers notice my car before they see the turtle and often stop too. At the very least, they slow down. Either way, it saves a life.

      Happy turtle saving!

  2. Fantastic post. I’ve always been a big turtle fan and this is some important stuff!

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