Earlier today I helped a turtle cross a busy divided highway near me. I’m hoping and praying it will be okay, since it had been sideswiped by a car by the time I reached it. (And unfortunately to the best of my knowledge and a google search there’s not anywhere nearby that treats injured wildlife.)
But I’m hopeful. It was quite a large, strong turtle and while the very rear edge of the shell was sheared off, it was only a little (1/8 inch or less) and there was only one tiny cracked place (at the leading edge of the strike) where there was even any bleeding—and I’ve seen a lot of turtles with shell scars easily two to three times that size that healed. And its tail and back feet looked intact and unharmed. It was still moving and very alert and the energies/aura I picked up seemed more confused and startled than hurt.
I left it in some cool underbrush on the far side of the highway, wrapped in healing energy and with a lot of prayers and I’m hoping for the best.
So this is a friendly summer PSA to watch out for our shelled friends in your travels! In some mythologies, all the world is carried on the back of a giant turtle/tortoise. And turtles are sacred to the Kemetic (Egyptian) God Set. But more importantly, they’re awesome, terrific, intelligent, loving critters! ❤ So watch your tires and save a turtle!
I love turtles and I have all my life so I’m going to break character here a little with some advice. If you decide to help a turtle cross the road this, or any other summer (yay!), then please:
1) Be safe yourself and make sure neither you nor your vehicle endanger anyone.
2) Always lift a turtle by the edges of the shell, avoiding any potentially damaged areas you see—and if you have wildlife aid services in your area, take advantage of their services if a turtle is hurt—and *never, ever* handle by the tail or limbs as that can seriously injure them.
3) Always place them on the side of the road they’re facing—it can be tempting to put them on whatever side they’re closer to, but turtles know where they’re going and can be stubborn and there’s every chance that if you move them to the wrong side that they’ll try again and be even more in danger for having further to go after you leave.
4) Try to keep the turtle relatively close to the ground during your transport to safety, terrain and circumstances permitting, especially if it’s kicking or struggling at all. They’re strong and if they kick free then they won’t be the fall to the ground.
5) Large, long-tailed turtles, usually with particularly ridged shells, might be snapping turtles if you’re within their range (generally Eastern to upper Midwestern US). There’s a lot of online resources about helping/interacting with them safely, but it’s usually best not to handle or lift them—because they’re named that way for a reason—and instead to push or nudge them from behind with a non-sharp object that keeps them moving but no one gets hurt.
6) Never relocate a turtle to another area or region, even one that seems “safer” to you. Turtles, like many animals, have territories and they often try to return home or might even experience trauma and just stop eating when they can’t see a way back.
7) Make you wash up after handling a turtle as they can potentially carry some diseases that are communicable both to humans and to some pets, so be sure to soap it up and keep everyone healthy.
(***Please note: The above is for land and freshwater turtles only. If you’re in an area that’s home to sea turtles or any endangered turtle/tortoise species, please refer to local resources in order to be sure you’re doing what’s best for them.)