Leave it Be: Taking Home a Box Turtle in Indiana Could Land You in Hot Water with the Law
If you see a turtle crossing the road, you can definitely help the little fella out, but don't take it home!
Can I Take That Turtle Home in Indiana?
In the state of Indiana, it is actually illegal to take home box turtles as they are protected. However, not all turtle species are protected and if you are a fan of turtle soup (no offense, but please don't invite me over for dinner, that sounds very unappetizing), you can with proper permits, and following the regulations from Indiana DNR and with a valid hunting or fishing license:
The snapping turtle, smooth softshell turtle and spiny softshell turtle are considered to be game species and regulated by hunting and fishing laws in Indiana. These species of turtles can only be taken from the wild if they have a 12-inch or greater carapace (shell) length and may be harvested only from July 1 to March 31 of the following year. The bag limit for game turtles is four per day (singly or in aggregate), and the possession limit is 8 (total) for these species.
However, it is illegal to take box turtles from the wild in the state of Indiana.
Can You Take a Turtle Home and Keep it as a Pet?
Indiana DNR discourages taking turtles from the wild and keeping them as pets because turtles require a LOT of care, have long lifespans, and generally don't make good pets. So just leave the wild turtles in the wild, and enjoy seeing them in their natural habitat.
Help The Turtle Cross the Road Correctly
While we're on the subject of turtles, it never hurts to have a refresher on how to safely move our cold-blooded friends to safety if they happen to be in 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.