Dealing with injured reptiles and amphibians
If you need immediate assistance, please call the Wildlife Clinic at (401) 294-6363
If you find an injured reptile (turtle, snake, lizard)…
If you find an injured amphibian (frog, toad, salamander)…
- Place the animal in a covered cardboard box with a clean, dry towel. Do not place dirt, leaves or any wet material in the box.
- Do not attempt to feed, as an injured reptile undergoing stress will not eat anything you try to give it.
- Keep in a cool, quiet, dark place until you can get it to the Wildlife Clinic. At this time we do not have any private licensed rehabilitators in the state that care for reptiles, so ALL injured wild reptiles must be brought to the Wildlife Clinic [(401) 294-6363] for care.
- Place the animal in a sturdy, covered plastic container with proper ventilation and clean, moist (not saturated) towel.
- Do not attempt to feed, as an injured amphibian undergoing stress will not eat anything you try to give it. Do not place dirt, leaves or any other material in the box.
- Keep in a cool, quiet, dark place until you can get it to the Wildlife Clinic. At this time we do not have any private licensed rehabilitators in the state that care for amphibians, so ALL injured wild amphibians must be brought to the Wildlife Clinic for care.
Why did the turtle cross the road?
To get to the other side!
- If you see a turtle in the road, be sure
to move it off the road in the direction that is was heading in. If
you send it back from where it was coming from it is only going to try
to cross the road again once you leave!
- Turtles have a plan and
destination when they travel. They know where they want to go, whether
they’re moving to a breeding ground or nesting area, and they’re going
to get there no matter what.
If you have found a Snapping Turtle BE CAREFUL! They can move much faster than you think and they have very long necks and a powerful bite that will break delicate bones in your hands and feet if given the opportunity. If you must move one of these turtles out of the road it
is recommended that you use a broom or shovel to gently push the turtle
into a trash can for safe transport (they can climb, so anything
shallower may allow it to escape). If these tools are not available
you can stand behind the turtle and grab it by the back of its shell
just behind the back legs and gently drag it out of harm’s way. Again,
if a snapper is crossing the road, be sure to send it in the direction
it was traveling in!
If you find a baby turtle (or several) in your yard they DO NOT need
your help! These little guys hatch from their nests buried in the
ground and, for most species, it is their first duty to go out and find
- Once there they will be able to find the food and shelter they
require to survive. They are born with survival instincts and actually
require no care even from their own mothers at birth!
- Picking them up
and moving them yourself takes away a key element to their natural
development so it is always best to leave them alone and keep pets and
***As with any wild animal, the care and handling of ALL reptiles and amphibians in Rhode Island is regulated by federal law, and it is ILLEGAL for you to take any wild turtle, snake, lizard, frog, toad or salamander into your home to keep as a pet. Reptiles and amphibians have very specialized diets and environmental requirements that are very different from domestic, captive species and improper food and housing can cause serious damage to one of these wild animals.***