Turtles have always been known as “slow and steady” creatures. They win races by never giving up and keeping the same pace. This is unlike hares who go, go, go and wear themselves out then have to take a nap before finishing. The real-life lesson here is this: rabbits are quick enough to make it across the road without getting hit by fast-moving vehicles whereas turtles may need a bit of help.
If you are one of the many people who care about the well being of turtles and hate to see any of them get slaughtered in their own home by careless drivers, then here are some suggestions to help make your turtle rescue safe and happy for all involved. A few things to keep in mind when out saving turtles: some are snapping turtles and could be mean; some are dirty because they swim in lakes, sleep in mud and never shower with soap; some are heavy because they eat a lot and live a long time. All of these things can be hard to deal with. However, as long as you carry the Turtle Saving Survival Kit* in your car, you will be fine.
The first step in saving a turtle is to find a turtle stopped on the road. If it is still moving, you might be able to ensure it makes it safely across by turning on the hazard lights and making sure no other cars will come up too fast to go around the turtle. However, if the turtle is stopped or in his or her shell, then assistance could be required. Snapping turtles are not afraid of anything especially you so if it doesn’t back down, watch out! Also, if he is big enough that he scares you, don’t mess with him. He obviously has lived a long life and has survived without your help to this point. Small snapping turtles can be dealt with by using the heavy stick from the TSSK. Either help the turtle along by pushing with the stick or if the turtle will bite the stick, you might be able to drag it gently. Always wear gloves when touching the turtle is necessary; you don’t want to get sick because you saved a turtle’s life! If the turtle is dirty or has algae on him, the trash bag can be used to pick him up. This saves your clothes from getting messy. Do not place the turtle in the bag simply place the bag on his back leaving enough hanging off that his tail end will not come in contact with you. This does not stress the turtle at all and will leave you sparkling clean. Once the turtle is safely on the other side use the hand sanitizer or sanitary wipes to clean up, place everything in the used trash bag to dispose of properly and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!
*The Turtle Saving Survival Kit includes: gloves, sanitary wipes, hand sanitizer, stain stick, rope, trash bag, 12 inch 2×4 (or some other heavy piece of wood) and road cones.