What do I do if I have found a Reptile or Amphibian...

  •  Crossing the street?

    Photo courtesy of Jessica Weinberg
    Turtles, in particular, can often be found in the middle of the road where they are in great danger of becoming road kill. If you spot a small turtle or other non-threatening reptile or amphibian in the road, you can help by picking it up and taking it to the side of the road toward which the animal was already heading. Do not attempt to help the animal if it puts you in direct danger of traffic, etc. Bringing the animal back to the side of the road from which it came will only cause it to risk crossing the road again. Hold the animal away from you, as it probably won't recognize your actions as helping and may try to pee on you or bite in self-defense. Snapping turtles are can be larger and far more dangerous to handle than other turtle species. If you find a snapping turtle in the road, you can help it along to the other side by dragging it backwards from the base of its tail onto a snow shovel, large piece of cardboard, or a large car floor mat so it can then be dragged safely across the street. Stay as far away from their head as possible, and do not attempt to lift them by their shell since snapping turtles can reach their heads around and inflict very powerful bites.

  •  In my house?
    Snakes are the most likely reptiles to find their way into your house. Pennsylvania has only three venomous species, two types of rattlesnakes and a copperhead, all of which can be distinguished by elliptical pupils similar to those of a cat and a head pit between their eyes and snout. If the snake is venomous, it is best to leave it alone, close off the area, and contact your local animal control officer. Chances are, however, if you are a resident of PA, the snake is non-venomous (look for round pupils and no head pits) and can be easily removed from your house by scooping it up in a mesh net, cloth bag or pillowcase, twisting the top shut, and taking it outside where you can then release it.

A reptile or amphibian should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator for immediate assistance if...

  •  It has been injured, e.g. from trying to cross the street

If the reptile or amphibian is in need of care from a wildlife rehabilitator, do not forget to keep it in a warm, dark, quiet place until further instructions are given.


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