Find a Box Turtle on the Road? It’s Illegal to Take It Home in Indiana
When you see a turtle in the middle of the road it can be tempting to move them to a new area, or scoop them up and take them home with you. However, these things are not good for turtles, and will actually hurt them in the long run.
What To Do When You See a Turtle on the Road
If you see a turtle on the road, it can be a very dangerous situation for that turtle. You can help them along their journey, by moving them out of the road, but there's a correct way to help them. Pick them up under their shell and move them across the road in the direction they were heading. If you take them back, they'll just try to cross the road again. It's also important to remember DO NOT pick them up by their tails. That can actually damage their spinal cord.
Do NOT Take Turtles Home
Typically when you come across a turtle on the road, you'll come across a box turtle. Specifically common to our region is the Eastern Box Turtle. While these little guys are cute, and you may be tempted to take them home, they're actually a protected species. Here's what Evansville's own Wesselman Woods says about turtles:
What should you do if you encounter a turtle in the wild? The #1 rule is do not take turtles home! Eastern box turtles, in particular, are a protected species. Possession of these turtles, their shells, their eggs, and any part of them is illegal.Another general rule for all turtles is: Do not relocate them. You may move box turtles off the road to assist them in their journeys but make sure to take them in the direction they were going. It is best to pick up the turtle from underneath and hold them like you would hold a hamburger BUT be warned! Turtles have strong legs and can push themselves out of a person’s grip. (They generally don’t attempt to bite and may just retreat into their shells.)If you were to come in contact with a common snapping turtle, do not attempt to move it on your own since there is a chance of real damage for both person and turtle. A turtle should NEVER be picked up by the tail as this can result in spinal injury. A snapper can reach around to the sides of their shell. This combined with a muddy/algae-covered carapace, weight, and intense motion bursts from the turtle make it risky to pick up a snapper.