I found a baby turtle...What do I do?

Congratulations! It is always wonderful to spot these little guys crawling around. With their excessive cuteness, it is easy to get caught up in the moment.

painted turtle hatchling 2016wild snapping turtle hatchling


The best thing to do when you find a baby turtle is to identify the species and then help get it where it is going. For aquatic turtles, this means finding a nearby body of water, placing them at the edge, and allowing them to enter the water at their own pace. For terrestrial turtles, simply get the turtle to the underbrush near the edge of a forest. You want to help the turtle without inhibiting its ability to be a wild animal.

Myth # 1: The turtle is too small to survive

Turtles are incredibly small when they first hatch. That does not mean they are incapable of surviving. Turtles have been around for over 200 million years. Young turtles spend much of their time hiding from predators and getting fat off insects. Get the baby turtle to the nearest water source or underbrush, and wish them the best of luck.

Myth #2: The turtle is looking for its mother

Mother turtles do not care for their young. Once the eggs have been laid, the mother has done her job and returns to her pond. The young turtles are completely independent from the moment they hatch. What the turtle is looking for is safety. Feel free to help them on their journey, but do not hinder them!

Myth #3: The turtle is lost

While it may seem like the young turtle is lost because you find it in your yard, the truth is that he knows exactly where he is. Turtles are born with strong instincts and can locate water from quite some distance. You can help make the journey easier by moving them near water or the underbrush, but do not delay their journey too long. A turtle will always do better in the wild.