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In late spring and early summer, it is common to see turtles crossing roads as they search for mates and as females search for nesting sites. Injuries from collisions with motor vehicles are the most common reason we receive turtles at Tufts Wildlife Clinic. Here’s how you can help.


You can assist a turtle across a road by gently lifting it and placing it on the other side, always in the direction it was heading. If you put the turtle back on the opposite side from where it was heading, it will cross the road again! Even if the turtle is heading away from water, put it in the direction it was trying to go. Turtles have a plan and they stick to the plan.

If you think the turtle is a snapping turtle, please read our important information regarding snapping turtles.

Don’t assume a turtle is lost if it is not near water. Aquatic turtles can wander quite far from ponds, lakes, and wetlands. Never take a turtle home to keep as a pet. They are wild animals, and most of the turtle species of New England are protected under state law. If you think you’ve seen a protected turtle, use the links below to report the sighting to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.

Here is a video from Toronto Zoo with tips for helping a turtle cross the road

More information about Massachusetts’ turtles can be found by following the links below.