With the onslaught of urban development and major
highways one of the biggest dangers to turtles is being hit
During the spring females are looking for optimal nesting
sights and males are looking for females to mate and all too
often in their quests for a good nesting area or for a mate
they find themselves under the wheels of a car or if maybe
nicked and flung off the road. Many sustain cracked shells
or limb injuries. Some are unfortunately injured beyond
repair, others, if found in time are sometimes able to be
saved. Here are some tips to help save those that may be
found still alive.
- First and foremost, do not put yourself in harms
way to get the turtle. If it’s in the middle of a major
roadway with busy traffic do not risk your life to save
the turtle. Call the local F&W to see if they can help,
but DO NOT attempt to get the turtle yourself.
- Place the turtle in a small box in a quiet dark
area. This will lessen the stress on the turtle.
- Do not rinse the turtle with running water. If
there is debris on the turtle you can clean it off with
a wet gauze or damp paper towel. Do not immerse the
turtle in water. If there is injury to the organs this
will cause water to get into them.
- Do not feed the turtle. It’s best to let a vet or
rehabber evaluate the turtle before offering any food.
- Keep the box in an area inside away from where any
flies can get to it.
- Any blood that may be present on the nostrils may
be removed with a slightly dampened q-tip swab by gently
rubbing the area, but if the turtle is trying to bite,
avoid the mouth area for your own safety.
- If there is a limb injury you can pack a piece of
sterile gauze over the limb and then wrap gauze around
the turtle to hold the gauze in along with the leg,
taping it to hold in place.
- Locate a Wildlife Rehabilitator or a vet that
Here are a couple of links that should help you find one
in your area:
Below are some pictures of shell repair.
These are graphic and not suitable for all. Scroll down to
Before and after images. This turtle
appears to be doing ok. There is hind leg paralysis which is
common in these cases. Full recovery may take up to 2 years.
The shell should heal nicely but will be deformed. Check
back often for progress reports
the photo to view full size