How did the turtle cross the road? One Ann Arbor detective can answer that

ANN ARBOR – It sounds like the perfect opening to a joke.

A large snapping turtle was crossing the road when a detective with the Ann Arbor Police Department recently encountered it.

The department shared a photo of Detective Jon McDonagh holding the massive reptile on what appears to be a dirt road.

“Detective McDonagh was out conducting follow-up investigation when he found this old timer sloooowly making their way across the road,” reads a Facebook post. “Det. McDonagh didn’t hesitate to hop out and help the pokey reptile get safely across - but not without snapping a quick photo first.”

The common snapping turtle is known to live in Washtenaw County. Currently, Michigan has 10 species of turtles, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Though snapping turtles spend much of their time in the water, they travel long distances over land during mating season, according to Tufts University.

What do you do if you encounter one in the road?

If you want to attempt to move a snapping turtle, always grab it by the back half of its shell, ideally above its back legs. Get a good grip on its shell as if you’re carrying a tray and lift it only slightly off the ground.

Keep its face pointed away from you at all times. After setting it down on the other side of the road back away quickly, as it may be ready to bite. Turtles necks can stretch further than people realize.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.