Found a turtle?

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The advice on this website is meant to be information that you can use at your own discretion. Please call us if you still have questions or have any other concerns. View the full disclaimer.

Note: Never pick up any turtle by the tail, it can cause spinal injuries. Always wash your hands after handling any reptile to avoid Salmonella.

Is it sick or injured?

If so, place it in a container and contact us. If the turtle has a belligerent disposition, a long tail, ridges on the carapace (top portion of the shell) or a shell that appears soft, it may be a snapping turtle. Snapping and softshell turtles can be aggressive, especially outside of the water. Do not pick it up from the sides, instead carefully scoop it into a box with a lid.

Is it in the wrong place?

Generally, a turtle is heading somewhere with purpose – to lay eggs, or find a new home. Help it across any roads, do not take it away from the area (unless it is injured). Place the turtle across the road in the direction it was heading. Do not turn them around or put them back where they were coming from (unless it is the only safe option). The turtle is on a mission, and if you turn it around, it will simply go back across the road when you drive away.

  • When picking up a turtle, grasp it on either side of its shell behind the front legs. The turtle will still be able to kick at you, but many will choose to stay safely tucked in, during the short time you are moving them.
  • Keep the turtle low to the ground when moving them. If a turtle pushes free of your grip, you do not want it to fall and injure itself.
  • If the turtle is has belligerent disposition, a long tail, ridges on the carapace (top portion of the shell) or a shell that appears soft, it may be a snapping turtle. Snapping and softshell turtles can be aggressive, especially outside of the water. Push it from behind with a blunt object. Don’t use anything sharp, or push across a rough surface or road – you don’t want to hurt the turtle.

Types of turtles and tortoises in Jacksonville

ARKive image GES012516 - Gopher tortoiseGopher Tortoise (learn more) alligatorturtleAlligator Snapping Turtle (learn more)
floridasnappingFlorida Snapping Turtle (learn more) box-turtlesBox Turtle (learn more)
cooterCooter (learn more) diamondbackDiamondback Terrapin (learn more)
floridasoftshellturtleSoftshell Turtle (learn more) mudturtleMud Turtle (learn more)