Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today we Saved a Turtle

Today we saved a Eastern Box Turtle. Hailey and I went shopping for some new shoes and school supplies. When on the way back home , there was a brown and tan lump in the middle of the right lane. As soon as I saw it I just knew it was a turtle. I keep on driving as there was a lot of traffic behind me. But I just couldn’t leave it there. I had to turn around and try to save it. So, that is just what we did.
I turned around about 1/2 mile down the road or more and just hoped we wouldn’t be too late. And low and behold, that little turtle was ok and on the move again. He made it over to the middle of the left lane and he was on the move. It was perfect where he was, as there was a left turn lane where I could pull over safety, and scooped him up. In the nick of time I believe as a rush of traffic was coming.
I put him on the floor of the passenger seat and brought him home. Needless to say Hailey thought this was so cool that we could save this little turtle. We took a few pictures of him and she named him Thomas the Turtle. Then we walked out back, went down into the forest and set him free.
According to the quick research we did on the net, he will be very happy there and have plenty of things to eat.
Regretfully hundreds if not thousand of turtles lose their life on our highways. So , if you ever have a chance, please help a turtle out. Get them to the other side of the road or drop them off in a local wooded area or field where they will be safe.
Long live the Turtles!!!
To learn more about this turtle


  1. It's great that you saved the turtle; however, box turtles are territorial, and when you find one in the road, the best thing to do is help it across (in the direction it was headed) and place it about 30-50 feet from the roadside. Removing a turtle from its territory can have serious consequences.

    Sorry to give some bad news, but it's important to let people know what to do in this kind of situation. Here's a site with some good information.

  2. Dear Mark,
    I fully agree with you in regard to just helping them across the road, when possible. But I regret this little turtle came from the direction of a gated community and was heading across a 6 lane highway. And across the street, where he was heading was only shopping centers. No fields, no forest. So, I made the decision to give him a better chance at life by setting him free in an environment that I knew he could thrive in, a forest. Plus I have seen other turtles out there and there is also a stream. He will do fine I’m sure and it is safer than on a highway.
    Thanks for your comments and additional information as it is also noteworthy.

  3. Hi Hailey's Mom,

    You faced quite a dilemma, and your decision makes a lot of sense. The turtle must have already been displaced - possibly due to habitat destruction, possibly due to having been brought home and released in a dangerous place. In any event, it faced near certain death in that environment.

    The Mckeever article I linked to illustrates the challenges involved in releasing turtles into a new territory (warning: it's discouraging, but it's not the last word, since we still have a lot to learn about turtle behavior.) I hope your turtle establishes a new home range and finds mates in the forest.

    My wife and I have been involved in trying to sustain our local box turtle population, protecting nests from predation, rescuing turtles from roads (other species too, including snappers,) educating our neighbors about the dangers posed by lawnmowers, documenting their presence in the event that there's more development pressure in our area. We're also working with a local nature center that is doing a turtle study that involves releasing turtles like yours on their 800 acre property and tracking them.

    For you and others who read this: if you can find a center with a similar program in your area, giving the turtle to them for release and tracking may be the best option. It's sad that turtle populations are in so much trouble, but there are things we can do to help keep them viable.

    Thanks for caring.

  4. Dear Mark,
    Excellent information! I find your work for the turtles awesome. Kudos to you and your wife. I greatly appreciate all your comments and suggestions. Hopefully they will help others who have found a turtle and dont know what to do.
    Thank you for all your help getting out the word for turtles.