Warning! Turtle Crossing—PETA ‘Shells’ Out Tips for Helping Turtles

For Immediate Release:
June 22, 2023

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the other side, of course! But dodging traffic can be dangerous for these slow-moving animals. So as summer heats up and turtles, including tortoises, are on the move, take action to assist them in their travels.

  • If you spot a turtle on the road, please pull over to a safe location and help them cross quickly. Always escort turtles in the direction they’re heading—otherwise, they’ll turn back into traffic and attempt to reach their destination.
  • Small turtles can be picked up by gently holding their shell with both hands between their front and back legs and carried across the road.
  • Large turtles and snapping turtles should be handled as little as possible. They can be gently encouraged into a cat or dog carrier or onto a solid, flat surface (such as a piece of sturdy cardboard) that can be safely moved a short distance with the turtle on top of it.
  • Never assume that a turtle who has been hit by a car is dead. Turtles have a super-slow metabolism and can suffer for weeks before dying. Test for a reaction by pinching a back toe or gently touching the corner of an eyelid. Injured turtles should be contained and transported to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter right away.
  • This video (warning: graphic) shows turtles who were still alive when PETA’s fieldworkers found them, illustrating how critical it is to check on those who appear dead.

“Lending a helping hand could be the difference between life and death for these slow-moving animals, who deserve to get where they’re going in one piece just as much as we do,” says PETA Vice President Emily Allen. “Roads become turtle killing fields in the summer, and PETA urges everyone to keep their eyes peeled for opportunities to be a hero to turtles.”

More details about helping turtles are available here.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind