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Three Tips for Moving Turtles from Roadways

Oklahoma’s roads can be a dangerous place for wildlife, especially deliberate but slow-moving turtles. As you motor across the state this spring, consider lending these fellow travelers a hand.

Safety first! If traffic is heavy or the road doesn’t have a shoulder, do not attempt to move a turtle off the road. Only move a turtle if traffic is light and you can safely pull onto a wide shoulder.

Turn on your hazard lights and pull off the road on the side the turtle is heading. This may keep you from unnecessarily crossing into the opposite lane.

Grab the turtle by the middle part of the shell where the top part of the shell (carapace) meets the bottom part of the shell (plastron) with a firm grip to avoid dropping the turtle. To help snapping turtles cross the road, use a branch or a similar object to gently prod the turtle from behind. Do not pick a turtle up by the tail.

Take the turtle to the side of the road in the direction the turtle is heading. Place the turtle as far off the road as possible but never cross a fence or trespass on private property.