Due to the current events and the spread of COVID 19 in our wonderful state, Back To The Wild will be OPEN to accepting injured and orphaned wildlife but CLOSED for tours and programs indefinitely. We will be closely following CDC and WHO recommendations to keep our staff and, of course, ALL OF YOU healthy and safe. If you have an animal in need, please call 419-684-9539 for instructions on how to safely transport the animal and utilize our no-contact drop off system. We know this is not the most ideal circumstances but we appreciate your continued support and your wonderful generosity!

Reptiles & amphibians

Found a turtle, snake, or some other scaly or slimy animal? Let us help! Scroll down to learn more about how to help these amazing animals.

Do I Really Need Help?

Just finding a reptile or amphibian in your yard doesn't always mean they are in need of help. Here are some pointers to help you decide if your visitor needs to be rescued:

  • Found a snake in your yard

    • Unless it is injured, it is best to leave them be. Killing or moving a snake just because it is in your yard can lead to bigger problems down the road. Snakes do an amazing job of eliminating disease carrying rodents and ticks! In addition, removing a snake from your yard only attracts more snakes to the new vacancy.​

  • Found an aquatic turtle in your yard

    • Many aquatic species of turtles don't like to lay their eggs too close to the water so they pick less conspicuous places...like your soft, mulchy garden! 

    • Unless the turtle you've found has an obvious injury, the best thing you can do for her is to leave her be. NEVER MOVE THEM! Turtles know where they are and moving them could cause a lot of harm.

    • If you find baby turtles in your yard, it is likely that they've hatched out of your garden. You can keep an eye out for neighborhood cats for them but otherwise, it is important to let them make their journey on their own.

  • Found a turtle or amphibian crossing the road

    • It is tempting to take a turtle, frog, toad, or salamander you find crossing the road to the nearest pond and let it go. However, all you're doing is making that animal's journey to it's feeding or breeding grounds much longer and more dangerous. If you see an uninjured turtle or amphibian crossing the road, you can help him by picking him up and putting him on the side of the road he was heading towards.​

  • Finding a reptile or amphibian in your house

    • Sometimes reptiles and amphibians find themselves in nice, warm houses. If you are able to safely capture the animal, you can simply move him outside so he can get on with being wild and free. If you have trouble or if he is injured, you can give us a call at 419-684-9539.​

If you ever have any questions about a reptile or amphibian you've found, don't hesitate to give us a call at 419-684-9539!

Snakes

Want to know a secret? It's OKAY to be afraid of snakes! We all of have things we're scared of. What's not okay is to kill them because we are frightened of them. Snakes are a vital part of our ecosystem and help to remove tons of serious and deadly diseases that could make you and I very sick. So what should you do if you find an injured snake?

  • While most snakes in Ohio are completely harmless, no one wants to get bitten by one. If you find an injured snake, here are some great methods to contain it without ending up with a few punctures:

    • Use a shovel! Have a tote or bucket with a locking lid or a pillow case you can tie shut. Using the shovel, GENTLY scoop the snake up and dump him into your container before closing it tightly.​

  • But what if the snake is venomous?!

    • There are only three venomous snakes in Ohio: the timber rattlesnake, the copperhead, and the massasauga rattlesnake.​

    • Timber rattlers and copperheads are not found in the North Western part of Ohio (that's us!)

    • Massasauga rattlesnakes only live in swamps and marshes, are very small and reclusive, and are endangered. You are extremely unlikely to ever come across one of these snakes.

  • But the snake I found is rattling its tail, it MUST be a rattlesnake!

    • Not true!​ Many non-venomous snakes imitate rattlesnakes in order to intimidate their predators. The most notorious rattlesnake mimic is the the Eastern fox snake.

  • Want to minimize the possibility of having a snake near your house?

    • Make sure there is as little debris in your yard as possible. Having​ piled up wood, siding, or other clutter gives snakes plenty of places to call home.

If you are ever concerned about a snake you've found, give us a call at 419-684-9539! We're happy to help you identify your reptilian neighbors.

Snapping  Turtles

Like snakes, snapping turtles can be scary! Here are some tips for moving or containing one of these grumpy shelled reptiles.

  • Whether you are helping a snapping turtle across the road or getting an injured one contained, you don't want your fingers anywhere near that mouth!

    • Snapping turtles have long necks and can reach your hands from almost anywhere on their bodies.​

    • Do NOT pick a snapping turtle up by its tail! This can damage their spines.

    • If you have a shovel available, GENTLY scooping them up to move or contain them is the absolute best method.

    • If there is no shovel available and nothing you can use to scoot them with (like a box or tote lid),  you can hold onto the shell right at the base of the tail. You will need to support the body with one hand underneath also positioned at the base of the tail. Snapping turtles have a long reach with their necks and WILL BE ABLE TO BITE YOU IF YOU ARE HOLDING ON THEIR SIDES OR CLOSE TO THE HEAD!

Why Can't I Just Keep It?

We totally get it, baby turtles are cute! And to some of us, so are salamanders, frogs, toads, and snakes! However, native wildlife is illegal to keep as pets. While these laws may seem silly, here are some great reasons why they exist!

  • Improper care is an EXTREMELY common issue we deal with when native reptiles and amphibians that have been kept as pets are surrendered to us. Bad nutrition can cause shell and other bone deformities, stunted growth, blindness, and more. Many people don't even realize their pets are deformed.

  • The spread of disease is a serious issue in Ohio. When native wildlife is kept in close quarters with non-native species, they can pick up viruses and fungi. Unfortunately, Many of these animals end up released back into the wild by their owners when they can no longer care for them. This leads to the spread of serious and fatal diseases in our wild populations.

  • They just want to be free! Just like any other wild animal, reptiles and amphibians would be much happier living their lives in the wild as they were born to do. 

  • Please NEVER release any reptiles or amphibians you have been keeping as pets into the wild, even if you found them in the wild. Always call your local rehab center to find out what to do. For non-native, pet store species, get in touch with your local humane shelters.

If you ever have questions, don't hesitate to give us a call at 419-684-9539.

Still have questions? Didn't find the answers you were looking for here? Just want to chat with some awesome wildlife people? We don't blame you, we want to chat with us too!

We are more than happy to help you with whatever wildlife questions you have. Don't hesitate to give our trained staff a call at 419-684-9539. For our calling hours, click HERE.