How to Help Turtles

Below are some ways we can be good neighbors to our shelled friends.

1) Watch for turtles crossing the road

Painted turtle in the road

Eastern painted turtle found crossing the road.

If you find a turtle who is in the road or looks like they are about to cross, helping them across the street can save their life.

Your personal safety is paramount. When it is safe, pick up the turtle and get them to safety. Then place them on the side of the road in the direction they were heading.

We should only move turtles across the street. Turtles are intimately tied to their local environments and should never be relocated. Report your sightings to NH Fish & Game who monitors their populations, and do not share locations online to prevent poaching.

See our blog post for more information on How to Help Turtles Cross the Road. To report sightings to New Hampshire Fish & Game, go here and check under the "Have a Wildlife Sighting to Report?" header for the online reporting link, as well as the email and mail-in submission form.

2) Get injured turtles to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator

Take injured turtles to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Turtles are incredibly resilient and very important to the ecosystem, so it’s vital to rehabilitate wherever possible. Contact New Hampshire Fish & Game for a list of rehabilitators that can take in turtles, use the Animal Help Now app, or call us at (603) 417-4944.

3) Keep wild turtles in the wild

It is critical to the long-term survival of our native turtle species that individuals never be taken from the wild. If you think a turtle needs help, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator right away.

See our blog post for more information on Why It's Important to Keep Wild Turtles Wild.

4) Never release pet turtles

Releasing pet turtles has been linked to the spread of deadly diseases and mass mortalities in turtle populations. It’s also cruel to that turtle. Always work with a rescue to rehome pet turtles.

5) Check on your pets when they are outdoors

Painted turtle during release

Painted turtle during release. Photo by Johnny Herrick.

It's becoming increasingly common for us to receive turtles who have had their shell gnawed on by a dog. Turtle shells are made of bone, so to our furry companions, that's just a big bone they can chew on. It's important to keep an eye on your pups when they are outside - these injuries are often fatal if not caught quickly.

6) Let turtles nest in your yard undisturbed

During nesting season (May-July), you may find a turtle nesting in your yard. It's vital she be given the space to lay her eggs. Turtles are very particular in their nesting requirements, and if she is forced to move on, she is likely to travel far, crossing roads, to find a new location to lay her eggs. Keep pets away and give her space to lay her eggs, and she will be on her way home. Hatchling turtles do not receive parental care, so she will not be back this year.

7) Know Before You Mow

Another incident we see is injuries from lawn mowers. Help wildilfe by doing a survey of your lawn before starting mowing, to identify if any critters are using your grass for cover. Box turtles in particular are known to be affected by this, and are already critically endangered in the state.