Reptiles & Amphibians

Reptiles are cold-blooded and must hibernate in cold weather. Reptiles are extremely territorial and should not be removed from the area where they know the food, cover and water sources, and have adapted their camouflage techniques, or they will probably die. Parents in general do not care for their young. Eggs should never be considered abandoned or orphaned.Turtles and snakes for example, lay their eggs and then leave the nesting site.You should note the exact spot where the animal was rescued. If a reptile cannot be returned to its territory, a licensed rehabilitator in your area should be contacted.

It is not illegal to keep a native reptile as a pet, but it is not recommended. Reptiles require specialized care and do not do well in captivity. There is also the risk of salmonella.You should not handle reptiles unless it is necessary for the safety of the animal or because it is injured and needs to go to a rehabilitator.

SnakesAmphibians & LizardsTurtles

Handling Techniques
If you can positively determine that the snake is not poisonous and are willing to take the responsibility for its identification, they can attempt the rescue. A non-venomous snake can bite, although the bite is generally not harmful.

Gloves should be worn. If the snake is bleeding, cut, crushed or having convulsions and thrashing, the rescuer can pick it up around the middle of the body, supporting the upper third of the body with the other hand. Another technique is to use a broom handle or shovel to life the snake gently in the middle.

The snake should be transported in a clean, covered trashcan or in a tightly closed pillowcase held away from the body.

Additional Information
Snakes will not chase or attack a person unless the person chases or attacks the snake. They are beneficial to humans and the environment. They eat mice, rats, insects, and other prey; if a caller has snakes in their yard or house, it’s usually because there is a food source for the snakes.

Species identification of snakes should only be made by a qualified reptile expert. Complicating the snake identification issue is the fact that the snake in question may not be a native. Exotic snakes escape from captivity or are released by their owners. Snakes nearly always terrify the public, and terror does not lend itself to accurate descriptions.

The best advice about snakes is to just leave the snake alone. No snake will attack a human unless it is trapped and cannot escape. Do not handle the snake or attempt to kill the snake. The majority of snakebites in the U.S. occur when one attempts to kill the snake. A snake's nervous system can continue to operate after the snake is dead. Serious and even fatal bites have occurred when a dead venomous snake was handled!

One of the most common human-caused problems for snakes (other than overreaction to their presence) is netting that is placed over shrubs to protect them from deer or birds. Snakes get caught in the netting and will die unless rescued. Refer these calls to a snake rehabilitator.

Frogs
Occasionally in the winter, particularly when the weather is changing, you may find a frog and wonder what to do about it. Frogs tend to bury themselves under dirt or leaves when the weather turns cold. With the onset of cold weather, frogs begin producing glycerol, a glycol alcohol compound commonly used in auto antifreeze products. This compound in the frogs' blood enables them to freeze solid for short periods of time with no harmful consequences. If you find an exposed frog in this state, you should take the frog to a sheltered environment and leave it alone.

Large Exotic Lizards
Bring children, dogs, and cats inside and wait for animal control. If it must be contained, use an inverted trash can or a big cardboard box weighted down.

Handling Techniques
Box turtles, sliders, and other small turtles: can be picked up by hand wearing gloves or with a towel. Some turtles will bite and they can reach a good distance around with long, flexible necks.

Snapping Turtles: small to medium sized snappers can be scooped up with a shovel or picked up by their tails, keeping the plastron (bottom shell) of the turtle facing you. Large snappers can weigh up to 45 Ibs. They can be shoveled or herded into a large trashcan. Not recommended for the inexperienced! Large snappers can lunge almost the length of their body and their bite can snap broomsticks!

I found an injured turtle in the road/I found a turtle with a cracked shell
This generally occurs in the spring after a heavy rain. Frequently the turtle has sustained damage to its shell. Do not wash wound or apply medication. Pack wound with dry, sterile gauze, cloth, etc. to help stop bleeding. Place animal in small box or cooler to prevent movement. Refer to a licensed rehabilitator in your area

I found a sick turtle
Turtles sometimes have a rough time coming out of hibernation, especially during a wet, cold spring. If it is sitting in the sun with puffy eyes and bubbles coming out of its nose or mouth, refer to reptile rehabber.

A turtle is trying to cross the road
Turtles cross the road for 4 main reasons: loss of habitat where it was; in search of a mate; in search of a place to lay eggs; hunting earthworms after a rain. Ideally the turtle should just be put on the other side of the road in the direction it was heading if there is habitat there. Turtles have very small territories. If you
put one in an area where there is no water or food even though it looks like a nice bit of woodland, it may starve to death. If there is no suitable habitat, take turtle to a nature center or turn over to a rehabilitator. If it is a busy highway and the turtle is causing a traffic hazard, you should contact the police with jurisdiction to stop traffic and move the turtle.

I found a nest of turtle eggs 
Cover it back up again. Reptile eggs are not like bird eggs. Within 6-12 hours after laying the embryo settles on one side of the egg. Turning the egg after this period will either tear loose the embryo or smother it with the yolk.

There is a snapping turtle in my yard
It is probably a female looking for a place to lay eggs. Keep children and dogs away. Let her lay her eggs and she will return to the water. You can surround the nest with hardware cloth (wire mesh) to protect and contain it. When the turtles hatch, they can be gently placed in a bucket and quickly moved to water.

There is a snapping turtle in my pond
We encourage you to live with it. Snapping turtles are almost totally aquatic. Underwater they are mild-mannered animals. It is only out of water that they are dangerous. Relocated snappers have been known to return to their ponds over long distances. If they do not return, the hospitable environment will probably attract another snapping turtle anyway. If the snapping turtle is eating ducklings, there is little that can be done in this situation unless the ducklings are orphaned and can be rescued.