It's that time of year again when you might see an increase in turtles and tortoises crossing the road - so what should you do if you decided to stop and help the little guy out?
First, make sure it's safe for all involved - we don't want anyone getting hurt.
Second, be sure it's not a snapping turtle (remember the first step!).
Third, always move the turtle or tortoise in the direction they were trying to go. If you bring them back to the same side of the road they just left, they are most likely going to turn around and try crossing the road again. They were going that way for a reason, so just give them a speed boost.
Fourth, do not put them in a water source. I know what you might be thinking - wait, don't put them in water? Why not?
Did you know that tortoises and turtles are different? It is true that all tortoises are turtles (although not all turtles are tortoises) since they belong to the same order Testudines, but there are significant characteristics that set them apart. One important characteristic that sets them apart is that tortoises are strictly a terrestrial species, meaning they live on land, and don't swim - that fourth step all makes sense now, right!
There ways you can tell the difference quickly is by looking at their shells and feet. Since tortoise live on land and their shells are their home and protection, their shells will be more of a dome shape and be bumpy. Since turtles live in the water, their shells will be smoother and thinner so they can glide quickly through the water. Tortoise feet will look more like an elephant foot and their legs will be positioned underneath the tortoise's body, since they live a life on the land. Turtles, being great swimmers, will have webbed feet/toes and their legs will be positioned out to the side.
There are so many species of turtles and tortoises out there that are TURTLE-LY amazing, I hope you take a moment to learn more about the ones near you!