Moving turtles safely across roads

What to do if you see a turtle on the road

Written by Christie Hill, Naturalist Coordinator and Kathryn Dudeck, Wildlife Director
June 9, 2020

Turtles are amazing animal ambassadors at the Chattahoochee Nature Center and in their honor we wanted to share what to do if you see a turtle trying to cross a road. The Wildlife Department at the Chattahoochee Nature Center saw 250 rehabilitation cases for turtles in 2019. 

Turtles are often seen crossing roads as they move within their home range. It is best to not interfere with their progress, but if you see a turtle crossing the road what should you do?

  1. Always make sure you pull over safely.
  2. Pick up the turtle with 2 hands to support the top and bottom shells.
  3. Move the turtle in the direction it is heading and well off the road. If you move the turtle to where it started, it will most likely turn around and cross the same road.
  4. Wash your hands at the first opportunity.


>> Do not remove a turtle from the area you found it. Many have excellent homing instincts and will try to return to their territory.

>>Do not attempt to pick up a snapping turtle. They, like other aquatic turtles, will often travel away from water to lay eggs or find new habitat. Using your car’s floor mat, they will often bite it and you can gently drag them in the direction they are facing.

>> If you suspect the turtle is injured, you can call the CNC Wildlife Department at 770-992-2055, press 4. You may also visit to locate a licensed reptile rehabilitator in your area. The Animal Help Now website and phone app covers the entire country so it is handy when travelling.

Other Resources:
How to assist wildlife and if it is needed

Chattahoochee Nature Center’s Wildlife Department

CNC’s Wildlife Department Facebook Page

What to do if you find a baby animal – Part 1

What to do if you find a baby animal – Part 2