What to do if you find a turtle

More often than not the best thing to do when a turtle is encountered is to release it back to the nearest body of water or safe habitat.  Land dwelling species such as box turtles remain in the same 2-3 acre area their entire lives and can die if moved elsewhere.  Aquatic turtles may fare better than land dwelling species if translocated, but these also should be returned to their original environment.

After taking phone calls and receiving emails about turtles for more than 20 years the best advice is to remove a turtle from the road but release it back into the wild in the direction it was headed.

I DO NOT RECOMMEND KEEPING TURTLES FOUND ON THE ROAD AS PETS THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA

Here are some of the many reasons why you should release turtles found on the road to a safe location as soon as possible.

* Most turtles found are aquatic species.  Many times these are females in search of a nesting location.  Too much stress combined with not finding a nesting site can cause some turtles to become egg bound and unable to lay their eggs.  Egg binding in turtles is not only really uncomfortable but can sometimes lead to a turtle's death.  Many female turtles in Texas lay up to 3 clutches of eggs per year so the nesting season can last from March to August. This is a major reason why aquatic turtles are found walking on land and crossing roads.

* Very few people have sufficient experience to properly keep our native turtles.  Certainly there are people who maintain live turtles and are good at doing so.  However, this requires lots of work and some expense.  After the amount of work, money and time required to properly maintain live turtles most people decide their time is better spent doing other things.

*These are animals that live about as long as we do.  No one should consider owning a turtle without taking into consideration that these are long lived animals.  Consider this if you have a child that wants a pet turtle.  I receive lots of emails  from parents seeking homes for reptiles that their college aged children cannot bring on campus. 

*Taking some species found on the road out of the wild can have a directly negative impact on those populations

IF YOU REALLY MUST OWN A TURTLE WHY NOT ADOPT?

Check with your local animal shelter, herpetological society or wildlife rehabilitator for adoptable turtles