When encountering turtles, it is important to leave them alone to ensure their safety in their natural habitat. Several of Indiana’s turtle species are illegal to take or possess, including the Eastern box turtle (pictured right). Unless a turtle needs assistance crossing a road, it should never be picked up or moved.
What should be kept in mind if you encounter a turtle who may need help?
People often encounter nesting females on roads during May and June. If a female is taken out of the wild, she can no longer add to the population.
Turtles are long-lived species and have significant care requirements. Captive turtles cannot be released into the wild. They can introduce diseases or parasites to the wild population, and they will likely not survive.
You can help turtles cross the road. Always move the turtle across the direction that it was heading.
Any turtle collected from the wild requires either a legal license or permit and all reptile eggs and endangered species or species of special concern are protected.
View the resources below on reptiles and amphibians along with Indiana’s regulations answering any questions you may have for collection, handling and conservation efforts.
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Reptile and Amphibian Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Eastern Box Turtle Information, Indiana Department of Natural Resources