Helping an Injured Turtle

An injured turtle needs medical attention as soon as possible!

CALL US IMMEDIATELY at 705-741-5000

Injured Turtle

Turtle Eggs

Recently Deceased Turtle

If the turtle is NOT injured

Turtle Nest

Outside of Peterborough

How to Help an Injured Turtle

1. Carefully place the injured animal in a well-ventilated plastic container with a secure lid (turtles can climb!), and no water.

Note: Most turtles can be picked up carefully with two hands. When handling snapping turtles keep a safe distance from their head as they will snap at you if they feel threatened. You may want to use a shovel or board to lift the turtle. Watch our video clip for more tips for handling turtles.

2. Note the location (road, major intersection, kilometer marker) where the turtle was found to ensure it can be released according to provincial regulations.

3. Call us at 705-741-5000. If we don’t answer, leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Note: DO NOT EMAIL with information about an injured turtle. An injured animal needs medical attention as soon as possible.

4. Do not offer the turtle water or food, and do not try to treat the turtle in any way.

5. Wash your hands after handling the animal.

6. If you have to keep a turtle overnight, leave it in the well-ventilated container. Place it in a location that is dark, quiet, room temperature, and away from pets.

Turtle Eggs

Important: Never disturb an intact nest! Not only is this illegal, but it can often lead to death of the eggs/hatchlings. If you have found a nesting turtle, or an intact turtle nest, DO NOT disturb it. Please see our section about turtle nests.

If you find eggs that have been accidentally dug up or otherwise disturbed, contact us as soon as possible!

1. Call us at 705-741-5000. If you have to leave a voicemail, we will get back to you as soon as possible.

2. Note the location (coordinates, address, or nearest intersection) where the eggs were found to ensure they can be released according to provincial regulations.

3. Wait for our call-back. We don’t have the resources to send someone to the location of the nest. Instead, we’ll walk you through the process of properly and carefully handling and collecting the eggs.

4. Bring the eggs to us at 4-1434 Chemong Rd., Selwyn, ON. If it’s not possible for you to get them here, we have volunteer drivers all over the province who may be able to help.

The Value of a Deceased Turtle

A turtle’s value does not end at the end of its life. If the turtle is a female, it could have eggs that we can incubate here at the centre until they hatch. We also collect data and tissue samples, which many organizations use for their studies and research on Ontario’s turtles.

If you have found a recently deceased turtle:

1. Place the turtle in a bin with no water.

2. Note the location (road, major intersections, kilometer marker) where the turtle was found. This will ensure hatchlings can be released according to provincial regulations, and the data we collect can be used accurately.

3. Call us at 705-741-5000

4. Wash your hands after handling the animal.

What to Do With a Non-Injured Turtle

Snapping Turtle on a Road Shoulder

DO NOT remove a healthy turtle from its habitat – it reduces their chances of survival. If you find an uninjured turtle in the middle of a road, and it is safe for you to do so, simply help it across the road in the direction it is moving.

If You Have Found a Nesting Female

DO NOT disturb a nesting female, even it’s on the side of the road. If possible, watch for when she’s done and then help her cross the road if she attempts to do so. However the nesting process can take several hours so this is not always feasible.

DO NOT dig up nests to protect the eggs, even if the nest is in a non-ideal location – you may damage the eggs AND it is against the law. Tips on how you can help turtle nests here.

Outside of Peterborough

Even if you live outside of Peterborough, call us at 705-741-5000.  We work with dozens of Turtle First Response Centres across Ontario – these are private clinics, or rehabilitators that we have trained in emergency treatment for turtles. We will be able to direct you to the appropriate location, while transfer to our hospital is being organized.