.‚ÄčDedicated to the conservation and care of turtles and tortoises.

Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society

Car accident
Dog attack 
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Finding an injured wild turtle

It's a dangerous world out there for a wild turtle!

- Being run over by a car - unintentionally or intentionally
- Getting chewed by dogs and other sharp-toothed predators
- Receiving traumatic injuries from farm or building machinery 
...the list goes on and on

If you find an injured wild turtle, time is of the essence for its survival. The actions you take in those next few hours determine whether the turtle might live. Use this site to locate a veterinarian or licensed rehabilitator experienced in working with turtles. Many vets have a "Good Samaritan" policy and will treat wild animals without a cost. and you won't be financially penalized for "doing the right thing." Even if you are convinced the turtle won't survive, a trip to the vet for humane euthanasia prevents a slow and painful death.


It can be deceiving, because a gravely injured turtle may appear alert and even be moving around on its own. What you are seeing is a turtle who may already be "walking dead" without prompt attention.

Here is the reality:

- Once the skin or shell is breached, bacteria attacks, The vet will likely put the turtle on a systemic antibiotic so that it doesn't becomes septic.

- If the shell is fractured, it needs to be stabilized. This often involves wiring the shell in place so that the vet can keep an eye on potential infection during the healing process.

- A broken shell exposes delicate internal tissue to dessication - drying out - and dessicated tissue dies and cannot be regenerated. It must be debrided or surgically removed by the vet. Depending on the extent and location of the tissue, the turtle may not be able to recover. Quick treatment limits this critical complication.

- A wounded turtle can be the victim of myiasis or "fly strike," as fly larvae (maggots) hatch in as little as 24 hours in the open wounds, and begin eating away at the turtle's flesh and releasing toxins. Often this is not visible to the layperson, hidden beneath the turtle's shell. Such infestations can, in themselves, be fatal.

Mistakenly waiting to see if the turtle can get better on its own is usually a death sentence for the animal. Because of their resilient nature, a turtle with mortal injury, infection or infestation can linger painfully for days or even weeks before dying. Professional healthcare means that humane euthanasia can be provided if necessary, after an assessment of the turtle's chance of recovery.