Hit by Cars (HBC)


With the onslaught of urban development and major highways one of the biggest dangers to turtles is being hit by cars.

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.

  1.  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.

  2. Place the turtle in a small box in a quiet dark area. This will lessen the stress on the turtle.

  3.  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.

  4.  Do not feed the turtle. It’s best to let a vet or rehabber evaluate the turtle before offering any food.

  5.  Keep the box in an area inside away from where any flies can get to it.

  6.  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.

  7. 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.

  8.  Locate a Wildlife Rehabilitator or a vet that treats wildlife.

    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 view.







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

click on the photo to view full size

This is what he looked like on arrival.

After 4 hours of realigning and wiring




The following pictures were contributed by Julie of The Turtle Rescue Of Long Island.