Answering Googled Questions

I am in England this week visiting my fiance and queuing these posts up beforehand.
An anonymous Googler asks “will a turtle die if you move it”.

I can’t speak for all turtles, but for Eastern Box Turtles the answer is “almost certainly yes.” EBTs live their lives within 600 feet of the place they hatch. If you move them away from there, they have a homing sense and they will try to return. The world is a hazardous place when you are a small, slow-moving reptile, even if you are a mobile panic room[1]. So the turtle is probably going to die trying to go home.

If you see a wild box turtle, the best thing to do is leave it alone. If it’s in a dangerous place (like the road) then you can help it across, taking care to keep yourself safe. Always, if possible, move the turtle across the road in the direction it was going anyway, so it doesn’t just stomp right back into the road.

This is, after all, how I ended up with Jeremiah Swakhammer and a $400 turtle pen in my yard–a well-meaning soul picked him up, drove him all over a couple counties, and was intending to release him a long way from where he was found. While I’m enjoying Jeremiah, who is the least troublesome of the Usual Suspects, he would have been better off in his home range in the wild.

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