Help the Turtle Cross the Road, if you can

June 9, 2013

TurtleRoadCrossIt is that time of year when you maybe wondering why you see so many injured Turtles by the side of the roads. At this time each year, the females are looking for the right habitats to dig and lay their eggs for the season. In many cases this takes them to crossing roads. Slowly.

A turtle cannot take a hit or run-over from a car. It’s shell just is not that strong. What is very unfortunate, is that when a Turtle is hit by a car, it may only crack or chip the shell. This will lead to disease or infections entering through these cracks, and the Turtle dies a slow death.

Flash-TurtleI have already moved 8 Turtles across a road this year alone. If you ever did a good Wildlife deed, moving a Turtle to the side of the road it is trying to get to, may very well save it’s life and/or allow it to lay it’s eggs for the season. Do not put the Turtle back into the underbrush on the same-side of the road you have spotted it. If it is heading to cross the road, and you only put it back into the road brush, it WILL be back out and attempting another road crossing after you have left. Also be very cautious when moving a Turtle. A Snapper for instance, can stretch it’s head and neck, to reach around to it’s tail. So if you where moving this Turtle by it’s tail, it may very well, turn around and latch onto you. VERY UNPLEASANT!

Getting the Turtle onto a piece of cardboard and sliding it across the road is one possible way.turtle-crossing-sign Just kicking it across the harsh gravel can also injure the Turtles under-side. Be very careful when doing something like this. YOU are also in danger while you are doing the good deed. Someone can be tooling along and just not see you assisting a Turtle out in the road, and your own life is now in peril from being hit by a Car. Get someone to Flag traffic while you get the Turtle across the road. I consider all of this worth it because in many cases the odds of the Turtle getting hit or clipped by a passing car while on it’s own, is very high. Your attempts at a rescue can very well be the Turtles saving grace.

Just as a side note……..when you run across a number of shell casings on the ground, this is notturtle-eggshells the sign of a successful Turtle egg hatch. When Turtles hatch they crawl up from underground where the eggs were layed and head to the nearest water, leaving nothing but their exit hole behind. The egg shells remain underground. When you discover them above ground, this is a clutch of eggs that has been discovered by a Raccoon or other predator, who has dug up the eggs and had itself a meal. Not a good thing. Raccoons are the most common destroyers of Turtle egg clutches.

Donna posted a Comment to this Posting by adding an important fact. Turtles, like many critters and Birds, will do the same things each year. A Turtle will return to the same place to lay her eggs the following year. So if you find egg shells allover the surface of the ground, you know that a Raccoon most likely dug up the eggs and ate them. You can return the nest year around the same time and protect the new batch of Turtle eggs. Staking some Mesh wire over the freshly dug up area where the Mama Turtle buried her eggs, will help stop intruders from digging up the eggs and destroying that seasons hatch.

Remember this very important fact: Once the shell of a Turtle has been cracked, by being run over by a car, the chances are almost 100%, that the Turtle will die a long and agonizing death from some decease enter through the cracked shell. PLEASE…….Do NOT run over a Turtle in the road. You guarantee it’s death! And a slow and painful death at that.



  1. Sadly, we’ve witnessed people intentionally running over turtles in the road. I can’t count the number of times we’ve stopped to help a turtle cross the road. Living on the Muskegon River, we have several turtles that come up on our land to lay their eggs; we always keep an eye on those places to make sure that they’re not disturbed by raccoon’s or other animals. We’ve even resorted to laying mesh over the area to insure a successful hatching. We’ve been blessed a few times with being able to watch as the newly-hatched turtles head to the river.

    • Thank You Donna! It figures that you and Gary would be taking care of all our Nature friends. I was just going to edit the post with the facts you have mentioned here. Mom Turtles will continue to return to the same Egg laying place, year after year. Protecting these places will help more turtles to be hatched. There is a shortage of many species. Even though many times when we see a pond, we see many turtles sitting on logs sunning. That does not represent the vast majority of the different Turtles in Michigan. They need our HELP. Thanks for the addition good advice. It’s going into the Post now. 🙂

  2. I don’t understand why people purposely run them over. I was having a nice ride today and seen a turtle trying to cross the road. I couldn’t stop because there was a vehicle behind me so I pulled over and around and that damn woman drove over the turtle. Pissed me off plus I had to see it’s shell cracked way open with no hope for the turtle yet it was still alive. Ruined my day and made me wonder again about people.

    • What a horrible and STUPID story Debbie. I just do not understand why ANYONE would deliberately run over a Turtle.???????? That cracked shell guarantees that the Turtle will eventually perish from disease and will suffer a long death. Thanks for making the attempt. Please don’t stop helping them. They need our help at this delicate time each year. Their focus is on finding that perfect place to lay their eggs, and not on traffic or crossing roads. That’s where WE come in.

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