BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC LOCAL 33)(FOX 44) - Spring is in full swing, and turtles are on the move in Louisiana—a state with a high population of turtles—so we're asking you to urge your viewers to watch the roads and keep an eye out for the animals, including those who appear to be injured, as it can take days or even weeks for injured turtles to die slowly and painfully.
By sharing this information, you may save a life:
- If you spot a turtle on the road, please pull over to a safe location and help the animal cross quickly. Always escort turtles in the direction they're heading, as they'll turn back into traffic to reach their destination if placed elsewhere.
- Small turtles can be picked up (by gently holding the shell with both hands between the 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 (like 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. They 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 the animal's 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.
One turtle rescue recently netted a PETA award for Officer J. Monteith of the Portsmouth Police Department, who scooped up a turtle (whom he named Fred) from a busy Virginia highway and transported him to a nearby community lake.