It’s important to recognize the plight of wild animals right here in the Southeastern U.S. This handsome fellow is an Eastern box turtle, which has experienced a sharp population decline over the last few decades. Without intervention and protection, this once-common backyard guest could vanish forever.
The good news is that everyday people like you can help! If you see a box turtle crossing the road, stop and move it across the road in the direction where it is going. Under absolutely no circumstances should a box turtle be moved to another location, no matter how much “better” that location may seem. Box turtles have an internal GPS system that guides them to remain within a very limited home territory. If removed from that territory, they will spend the rest of their lives trying to get home, and most will die on the way and fail to reproduce.
It is also never acceptable to bring wild turtles home as pets. Wild turtles do not do well as pets and most die from diseases related to improper care. It is also illegal in most jurisdictions to remove these imperiled species from their natural habitat.
Pass the word on to your friends and family so they also know how they, too, can help keep box turtles safe!