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Yes, These Turtles Are Still Alive

Written by PETA | April 9, 2014

PETA rescue workers discovered these two turtles beside local roads. Although they were mortally wounded, both turtles were still alive and suffering immensely when we found them. They were quickly and mercifully put out of their misery.

As the weather warms up, turtles are becoming increasingly mobile. If you see a turtle attempting to cross a road, lend a hand.

Turtles in danger of being struck by a car (but who are uninjured) should be helped across the road. Pick them up by grasping them firmly by both sides of the body, in front of their hind legs. Be careful not to drop them! Large snapping turtles have long necks and can bite hard, so instead of picking them up, gently push them from behind to safety with a blunt object. Don’t use anything sharp that could cause injury.

Remember, when you see turtles in the road or about to cross the road, always keep them moving in the same direction that they were headed. Do not try to make them change course, as they have a destination in mind and will simply try to cross the road again if placed back where they started from. Once they’re safe on the other side, leave them alone. Don’t relocate turtles to new areas, even if you think their current location is odd (unless it is obviously hazardous, such as a busy parking lot). Moving them to an unfamiliar location can subject them to foreign diseases and parasites that they lack a natural immunity to, so that should be avoided.

Happy Turtles (1)

Happy Turtles (2)

If you see a turtle who has been hit by a car, take the animal to a veterinarian or an animal shelter to be assessed and, if necessary, euthanized. Turtles have an extremely slow metabolism and can take days or weeks to die, even when they are severely injured.

For more tips, visit PETA’s “Wildlife Emergencies” page.

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  • I was actually caught in a torrential downpour dressed to the 9’s one evening when I had stopped on a back country road to help a very very large snapping turtle. Do NOT know what I was thinking standing there in a dress and heels soaked to the bones with mascara running down my face and crying because no one else was stopping to not only help the turtle but to help ME! Eventually a man who works on one of the local horse farms happened by with his manure truck and had his trusty shovel in the back and helped the not very happy turtle across the road. I was out there for over a half hour because this stubborn thing kept turning in a circle to snap at me. I wasnt even touching it but I didnt want some car to run it over. I was a hot mess and had to cancel my plans for the evening. My boyfriend at the time was not happy. I could have cared less cause I saved a turtle.

  • Charlie Amanda says:

    I live in a forest up in pocano mountains across the street from a lake and the swamps are behind me, so my property, and much of the surrounding area, becomes a turtle super highway when its egg laying time.
    In my lake community you’ll occasionally see a group walking across the roads with large snappers for their protection, but with 157 lakes and even more ponds and vernal pools in the area its very common to see turtles crossing the roads, many aren’t as lucky to have an escort.
    I’ve personally stopped my car and held up traffic to get a few off the road, most people applaud my effort, some are not so happy I’ve tied up traffic, but if you can stop and safely help a turtle, or any animal, cross I strongly recommend you do. 🙂

  • i have a turtle which was in a very bad condition he didnt move at all but now after 4 years he is so strong and healthy also i want to tell something-
    i brought home two mouses from a very filthy place where they were not well fed and sheltered also the were having dermal infections but now after 3 weeks i cared them fed them gave both of them very gentle bath and provided sufficient place for them in my room i think now the are happy also they started walking and running because at the start the were not able to move also there names are RIO and Ferdinand

  • If People can’t see how Great GOD is in His Creation’s then why are they even able to do what they see fit to do regardless of the consaquences ? ? ?

  • Andrea says:

    It should be against the law not to stop and render aid to any animals that has been hit by cars

  • Nicole says:

    Where I live the township put a barricade up along a road with swamp where alot of turtles cross. It wasnt much but im sure it saved a few of the beautiful animals.

  • dakota says:

    I have always, always pulled my car over to get turtles out of the road. Some are quite stinky and not too happy for the help. Lol But I do it anyways. And now that my daughter is a driver she does the same thing. Consider it good juju people!

    • Sarah says:

      You’re a good person to do that and to also teach your ways to your children. Way to go!! You rock! On behalf of myself and all those lil’ guys you’ve saved, THANK YOU!!!!! 🙂

  • tobi smith says:

    I am flabbergasted that this happens. Poor turtles!! I wonder if these turtles above were at least given proper vet care or dispatched quickly. They shouldn’t have to suffer as I know they are in horrific pain.

  • Roxanne says:

    Saw a turtle with a rusty fishing hook in its mouth. It looked infected. I wanted to do something but I couldn’t reach it. Very sad. Im sure it was a snapping turtle and the fisherman couldn’t get the hook out. Very sad.

    • Rob says:

      Perhaps if the fisherman hadn’t been fishing in the first place, the turtle, not to mention the fish, would have fared better?

  • hooch says:

    I did not know this. One question. Hate to ask. But it will determine my course of action. Will I have to pay for vet drop off? I’m no money that’s why I ask. But I could not would not let it die slowly.

    • Michelle says:

      That pretty much depends on the vet. When I brought in an injured turtle to a vet, they said it was too badly injured to save and would have to put it down. I said, “Okay. Either way. I just couldn’t leave him there to suffer.” I left it with them to be euthanized. I didn’t even think about the cost, and they didn’t ask me for any money. I went back a week or two later to ask whether they wanted some money, and they said no.

    • Delmy says:

      Is better if you take it to the animal shelter

  • aleyrac says:

    I picked up such a tortoise once from the road, intending to have her euthanized. Instead, the vet examined her, decided no major organs were injured, put her on antibiotics, drilled small holes in her shell, wired it together, covered the join in epoxy glue, and after several weeks we took her down to the river and she took off SPRINTING over the mud and jumped in!

    • Lorraine says:

      we also did that with crazy glue turtle just had one crack in the shell so we keep it for a few days and then let it go wonderful feeling I love turtles

  • Cathy says:

    We lived next to a large swampy pond where there were MANY huge snapping turtles. Some of these turtles were decades old. It was difficult yo help them across the road ( they were often killed ON PURPOSE ). We found that by putting a stick close to their mouths three majestic creatures would snap and clamp right on. It was easier guiding them a little more quickly across the road while they were holding on to the “guide” stick.

  • Never knew this about turtles. So many people are so rushed and sometimes callous to the pain of animals I doubt many would take time to escort a turtle or stop for one that has been hurt. We always try to avoid hitting an animal. I wish more folks would realize animals have feelings too.

  • Sabrena Polarine says:

    Normally if I see a turtle crossing the road I’ll stop and take it to a local lake or stream but I know it irritates other driver do I care… nope 😉

  • i feel really sad for these animals….please do help them whenever they need it…its only we who can help them…please show some mercy towards them..

  • Watremez says:


  • Willie says:

    I was driving in Florida when I saw a turtle upside down on his shell I pulled right over and got out and ran to the turtle. I picked it up and turned it over on the grass. I saw that its shell was cracked and bleeding I ran back into my car to grab my phone and a Towel within 3 mins the turtle was gone I search for 2 hours in the high grass but was unable to find him. I feel horrible because I know this turtle wil wind up dying a slow death and I feel like its all my fault cause I ran back in the car instead of staying with the turtle. I feel so guilty 🙁

    • Karine says:

      don’t feel guilty, you tried and at least he made it into the cooling grass. and, you never know, miracles happen, he may live. And you were the miracle to him, god bless you.

    • You couldn’t have known the turtle would leave. You did your best at that time and far more than most people would do. I know I always feel bad when things don’t turn out with a good result, but don’t be too hard on yourself. You had the best intentions.

    • Rachel says:

      Turtle shells can heal themselves. If it wasn’t a huge crack, there is a chance the lil bugger survived. Don’t feel guilty! You were amazing for pulling over and think positive, they’re very resilient creatures 🙂

    • At least you tried to help, most people would just drive on by and not even care…………….

    • Don’t feel guilty you did more than what anybody I know would have done. Learn from this situation and maybe the next one you can help will go better 🙂

  • Manish says:

    Why are people so inconsiderate??!! This is really sad. Do they still feel good after killing/hurting these beautiful creatures??

  • Karina Valdez says:

    I can’t even read the article properly… the pictures are too disturbing! Damn those people who do such thing!!!

  • Reggie says:

    I came upon a turtle in my lane trying to get to the woods. It took a couple minutes for me to get somewhere to stop and turn around. When I got back to where the turtle was I pulled over and was almost ready to help it cross. A car was coming, they saw the turtle and they saw me. Then they deliberately ran over the poor turtle. All I could do was scream, then cry. By the time I got back to my truck and turned around I couldn’t find the car. They better be glad I didn’t find them. I may be an elderly woman but things like that really get my adrenaline going! Evil people make me sick!!

  • Nadia E. says:

    thanks for the advice, i’ll remember it. where i live there are no turtles but who know where i will head next. and people, would it kill you to stop being so cruel and careless?

  • Paz says:

    I think someone should come with the technology to create some sort of alert system that only animals can perceive, sort of like a noise wave that scares them and acts like a barrier whenever vehicles are approaching.. Wish I had that talent to create something like that. But there are creative people out there and it is just a matter of thinking about it. The pictures are sad.

  • advick89 says:

    This is simply terrible, animals are no different than humans. They should be treated as such.

    • Michelle says:

      Non-human animals ARE different than humans. They have purer hearts. Most non-human animals would never take advantage of and mistreat other animals like humans do.

  • Apourv says:

    One of the two turtles is a pregnant female, with eggs. She might have been going towards the shore to lay those eggs Drive carefully and help animals. How hard can it be?

  • cyndi says:

    I drive a school bus and just happened to see one of these little turtles crossing the road. I slowed down and waited until the little guy got across.

  • Jean Chagnon says:

    I AM VERY UPSET!!!!Barbaric crimes!!!!!

  • Gillian says:

    This is unnecessary cruelty, if only people cared to pay attention to animals as they do humans. Those poor turtles have done nothing to hurt us, they are equally important and this deeply saddens me that these poor animals are left un-cared for by the people who hit them. They wouldn’t do that to a human so don’t do it to an animal.

  • susan says:

    God help all Your animals!!! I was headed back to pick up a turtle and -too late-it had been hit—i drove him to the vet to have it euthanized………(she charged NOTHING!!) so….bless her…the turtle is in my flower garden.

  • Adriana Diaz says:

    The feel pain!! just like you and me. Please people, don’t be so selfish and if you see a turtle on the road it’s easy to just stop and move it aside… It’s just common sense!!!

  • linda says:

    I just rescued a very large snapping turtle who was crossing the road. He was just starting when I drove by. I turned around and went back. Now he’s in the middle of the very busy 2 lane road. I pulled up to him and put my flashers on and waived traffic around me until he was all the way across the road and up the side of hill. He was huge and very slow! I didn’t care that people were beeping at me.. lol he’s safe (or she)

    • helena says:

      In Florida you see them on the road all the time. Its sad that we havent yet created some type of barrier that would prevent the majority of these incidents.

    • Carlos says:

      I live in Miami and last summer without any hesitation I slammed on my breaks and made traffic stop in order to let a turtle cross the road to a lake that was on the other side.

    • Roxanne says:

      I saw a large turtle crossing a busy road in Buffalo NY. I pulled over and carefully got him out of the road. I took in home and put him in an aquarium till I could take him somewhere safe. I drove to Allegany State Park and put him in Mirror Lake where I would want to be if I was a turtle. Im sure he loved it.

      • Moe says:

        God Bless You !!!! Wished more people would do this. These creatures are created by God just like you and me.