Whenever you see a box turtle attempting to cross a busy highway, I am sure you cannot help but be concerned the reptile can safely complete its perilous journey. Indeed, with traffic volume increasing every year, box turtle treks across the black asphalt ribbons that crisscross the state are becoming ever more dangerous. Not wanting to see a box turtle struck by a vehicle, whenever possible, drivers often stop and try to help turtle avoid being crushed by a car or truck. Once a turtle is retrieved, a driver must decide where to place it in order to keep it out of harm’s way.
I have asked two herpetologists what they would recommend in this situation. Both agreed it is best to place the turtle on the side of the road it was headed. While there is always a chance the turtle will turn around and walk back onto the highway, in most instances, this is not the case.
The experts also stressed it is not a good idea to move a turtle a mile or two down the road to a place that appears to be safer. When released some distance from its home range, box turtles often find it difficult to find enough food to survive. This can result in the turtles wandering about.
If you decide to come to the aid of a box turtle trying to plod across a busy highway, please make sure you have a safe place to pull off the road. In addition, do not walk out into the highway to retrieve a box turtle until you are absolutely certain you can do so well before a oncoming vehicle reaches you.