How to Help and Handle an Injured Turtle

hurt turtle

From the Ontario Turtle Conservation Center

1. Carefully place the injured animal in a well-ventilated plastic container with a secure lid (turtles can climb!).

2. 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.

3. Note the location (road, major intersections, and mileage) where the turtle was found to ensure it can be released according to provincial regulations.

4. Call the Ontario Turtle Conservation Center at 705-741-5000 

5. DO NOT EMAIL WITH INFORMATION ABOUT AN INJURED TURTLE. An injured animal needs medical attention as soon as

6. Do not transport turtles in water. Do not offer the turtle anything to eat.turtle trauma centre

7. Wash your hands after handling the animal.

If you have to keep a turtle overnight, place it in a well-ventilated container with no water and in a cool, dark place, away from pets.  Leave us a message and we will get back to you when we open.

Never attempt to treat a sick or injured wild animal yourself. Always contact your nearest licensed Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

If the turtle is NOT injured

Here’s what to do:

• DO NOT remove a turtle from their area – 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.

• DO NOT dig up nests to protect the eggs – you may damage the eggs AND it is against the law. 

• The Turtle Conservation Centre is primarily volunteer-run, we do not have a pick-up service.

• The centre accepts injured native turtles only – NOT unwanted pets.

Outside of Peterborough

If you live outside of Peterborough, call 705-741-5000.  We work with over 30 Turtle First Response Centres across Ontario – these are private clinics, or rehabilitators that we have trained in emergency treatment for turtles; the availability of these varies so please call us to arrange. We will be able to direct you to the appropriate one, while transfer to our hospital is being organized.

From the Ontario Turtle Conservation Center.

To learn more, go to

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