With the recent turtle tragedy in Delavan, Wisconsin, Badger Veterinary Hospital wants to do its part to educate our readers about keeping turtles safe. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, from mid-May to early July, female turtles leave their aquatic habitats for dry upland nesting grounds to deposit their eggs. This explains why you may see turtles in unexpected environments.
Should you spot a turtle (like I did in my backyard a couple of weeks ago), remain calm. Noise and activity can stress the turtle. If the turtle is not in danger of being injured where it is, it’s best to leave the turtle alone. If you suspect that the turtle may be in danger (if it’s on the road, at risk of being bitten by a dog or stepped on by a larger animal), you can certainly help the turtle to a safe place.
If you move a turtle, please make sure your hands are clean or use gloves if possible. When you move them, make sure you are moving them to a safe location in the direction that the turtle was heading when you found it. If you see a snapping turtle, please use a stick or something else that the turtle can bite and then pick it up from the tail or hind end of the turtle. Snapping turtles have long necks and powerful jaws that can reach to bite whatever is threatening them.
If you are concerned about the turtle’s safety, please contact Wisconsin’s DNR or a turtle rescue. Turtles are an important part of the food chain in lakes, rivers, and wetlands. People are the key to protecting turtles. If you see something horrible like the Delavan turtle tragedy, please contact police to report what you’ve seen.