Turtle safety

Posted by on March 13, 2015 at 8:55 PM


Use caution on crossing guard duty


If you see a turtle crossing the road, take caution when pulling over and again when reentering the roadway. Before dashing into the street make sure there are no cars coming. Use extreme caution if the road has blind corners or is on a busier stretch of roadway. Once you determine it is safe, carefully, but quickly, move the turtle off the street. Help the turtle cross by putting it on the side they were facing and walking toward.


Badje warns that "spiny softshells and snapping turtles do bite and it's best to use good judgment when ushering these species across roads." He advises to use "long objects for them to bite down on such as sticks" then to gently drag them across the road.


If you pick up a turtle and move it, especially young turtles, wash your hands well after handling.

Hidden throughout the rivers, wetlands and uplands of Wisconsin are 11 turtle species:


Softshell turtles (2)


Smooth softshell (Apalone mutica)

Spiny softshell (Apalone spinifera)



Mud and musk turtles (1)


Eastern musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)



Snapping turtles (1)


Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)



Semi–aquatic pond and marsh turtles (7)


Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)

False map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica)

Northern map turtle (Graptemys geographica)

Ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata)

Ouachita map turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis)

Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)



Email your questions about the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program to .


To learn more about turtles and see a video on the program, visit


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