A: It's easy with the right methods:
Simplest version: Find a long stick/branch and put in front of the snapping turtle's mouth. They will almost always bite the branch and hold on. Gently pull them across the road in the direction they are headed, as far off the roadside as possible. Then let go of the branch, and they will eventually let go and continue on their way. Dragging them across pavement can scratch their plastron (bottom shell), but it is a minor issue.
My usual method: Put on a pair of leather gloves and pick up the turtle on the outer shell between the hind legs and tail; head facing AWAY from you. They can throw their head up and backwards when they snap due to their long neck, but they cannot reach farther back than 1/3 their shell.
For heavier turtles: I tend to pick them up at the waist area, again, head facing out. This helps to leverage weight better and lift them easier, but their claws can scratch you, so better with gloves. They cannot reach you at their waist if they try to snap.
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- Never lift a snapping turtle by the tail! It is attached to their spine and the turtle can still snap and swing towards your leg.
- Always consider YOUR safety first whenever stopping to help any wildlife on a roadside.
- Do not relocate turtles to "better" habitat, simply help them across the road and leave them where they live.
- If the turtle is injured, please get it help! With proper care, turtles can often survive their injuries. Always note location so the turtle can be returned to its home once healed. Never try to feed or water an injured turtle; simply place in a box if possible; a dark quiet safe place away from kids and pets. NO heat, just room temperature. And call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for help:
- Teatown has 2 licensed turtle rehabilitators on staff: Erin Baker (337)654-1610 or (914)762-2912x114 and Lisa Kelly (914)224-8335
- For all other wildlife, call the local Wildlife Hotline: 866-WILD-331