Baby turtle gets a little help to the lake

A baby painted turtle navigates lake waves after getting a helping hand to cross the road. Submitted photo / Jim Lease

This baby painted turtle, about the size of a silver dollar, was found on a road trying to get to a nearby lake.

With a little human help, the turtle made it to the water. The turtle had a little trouble getting through the small waves coming in, especially when they formed a little foam.

The Minnesota Department of Nature Resources reported roadway mortality, in fact, is believed to be a major factor in turtle population declines throughout the United States. "Helping these typically inoffensive animals safely across roads is therefore an important and valuable contribution to the preservation of North Americaโ€™s turtles," the DNR stated, noting turtles injured while trying to cross the road may be taken to the nearest permitted wildlife rehabilitator.

If the turtle can safely cross the road, the advice is to leave it alone and observe from a distance. If that isn't possible, turtles should be handled with care and for as limited a time as possible. Place turtles in a straight line in the direction they were headed. Painted turtles may be picked up at the midpoint of the shell, but be mindful they may empty their bladder when picked up so don't drop them in surprise. But picking a turtle up that way won't be a good plan with a softshell turtle or a snapping turtle (a leatherback).

"Snapping turtles should never be picked up by the tail! This can damage the snapping turtle's spinal cord," the DNR reports. "Grabbing an aggressive turtle by one rear leg while supporting the turtle from below with your other hand is safe for both you and the turtle. Others wishing to assist Snappers or Softshells cross roads are advised to use branches, broomsticks, snow shovels, or similar objects to prod the animals along from behind. If bitten, such objects may also be used to drag the turtles to roadway edges."

What To Read Next
Get Local