Hundreds of Box Turtles are killed each year on our roadways. Many of these deaths could have been avoided. Someone taking five minutes to stop and help them cross will make a huge impact on future Box Turtle populations. Always remember safety first when helping a Box Turtle cross because two lives are not worth the risk. When helping a Box Turtle cross, always place him in the direction in which he is facing. His homing instinct is so strong that placing them in a different direction will lead them back into the road. Box Turtles are more active and prone to cross roadways in the early mornings, late afternoons, and especially after a rain. If an injured Box Turtle is found, first document the exact location where he was found. Then contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, a local vet or a local herpetological society for help.
Box Turtles know where they are and where they are going in their habitat range. They are not randomly roaming lost. They know where their food source is and where they will hibernate. Picking up a Box Turtle and driving it just a mile or maybe two or three miles in any direction, because you think it will be happier, could be very detrimental to the turtle. He will be lost and confused. His natural instinct will be to travel back to his range. This will put the Box Turtle in harm’s way, from crossing roads to encounters with animals that munch on Box Turtles, as well as stress the turtle out. The best way to help these guys is to help them cross, in their own habitat, and let them be.
DON’T TAKE HOME
When helping these magnificent creatures cross the roadways, it is easy to get caught up in their beauty and majestic appearance. These guys belong in the wild where they were found. A turtle taken from the wild is dead to nature. The impact on taking a turtle from the wild can be devastating to local populations. A Box Turtle will lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime, laying eggs until she dies, with only 2-3 of her offspring surviving to adulthood. When they are removed from the wild and the breeding population, the off spring number will drop and the over all population declines. If you want a Box Turtle for a pet, don’t pick one up from the wild. Box Turtles don’t need much from us. By simply helping them cross, leaving them alone, and keeping our eyes on the road, we can help ensure the future for these wonderful turtles.