Help a Turtle Across The Road

Many of the turtles hit by cars are adult females on their way to lay eggs on dry land and June is the height of nesting season. Males also cross roads to reach other habitats.

You can help a turtle across the road in the direction it is going.

Most Ontario turtle species can be carefully picked up with two hands and moved across the road. You can also use a board of shovel to coax it along. Never pick up a turtle by the tail, which could damage its spine.

Be careful helping a snapping turtle across the road – keep a safe distance from its head as it can reach past its midpoint if it feels threatened. You can Identify a snapping turtle by the large black, olive or brown shells typically covered in algae. Their tails have “dinosaur-like” triangular crests along their length. Pictures of the three turtles native to the Ottawa region, including Snapping Turtles, are here.

You can coax a snapper across the road using a shovel or a board, or by allowing it to bite a long stick and pulling it across the road. If you must pick up a snapper by hand, grab the back of its shell with one hand, and slide your other hand underneath between its hind legs. Snappers are very strong and will squirm and thrash their hind legs, so hold on tightly.

This video demonstrates how to help a snapping turtle across the road.

With seven of Ontario’s eight turtle species at risk, saving even one turtle can make a difference.