It's that time of the year when turtles are on the prowl for mates or new ponds. If you can, stop and help a turtle out! If you don't, the car behind you is probably texting, and likely going to turtleslaughter the poor thing.
In the Carolinas, we regularly have 3 types of turtles which you should familiarize yourself with if you ever encounter one on the roadways.
Box turtles - Easily recognizable as they have a hinged plastron which allows them to hide from potential predators. These turtles do well in deciduous forests and should not be tossed into a pond! Though, they can swim, it's just not their ideal setting.
Terrapins - Aquatic turtles recognizable by their webbed feet! Yellow and red eared sliders are the most common you will find. Occasionally a mud turtle or diamondback terrapin can be found depending on your distance to and from the coast.
Snapping turtles - These turtles are truly remnants of a previous eon. They're large, capable of defending themselves, and commonly found in the roads. Unfortunately, they're also not easily moved. Do not attempt to move one of these unless you have skill in doing so and never, ever, move one by the tail as you can cause spinal damage to them. I suggest scooping them with a laundry basket in order to safely pick them up and move them to a better location.
I typically move these turtles over a mile away from a busy road, either to a forest or another pond that isn't the one the turtle is closest to just in case those turtles are attempting to relocate themselves.
Pictured is a healthy common snapping turtle I named Jefferson. I've come across him twice now as he lives close to my home. This recent time he was laying directly in a busy road so I tossed him into my trunk carefully and found him a new pond.
All photos are a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) by Joseph Bursey.