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*Please be aware that there are several venomous snakes in North Carolina. If you are unsure of the species please refer to one of these websites before going near the animal: NC Museum of Natural Sciences or a NCSU and A&T coop site. Remember, above all you and your family’s safety is most important and all precautions should be taken with any snake.

  • I found a snake outside.
    • It is generally a good idea to avoid any confrontations with a snake. Overall, people are only bitten when they try to touch or harm the snake. If you see one outside the best thing you can do is to leave it alone as it will move along shortly. Many people are actually glad to see a snake nearby as they are nature’s rodent control!
  • There is a snake inside my house.
    • The Piedmont Wildlife Center does not perform animal removal services. Even when an animal is injured we generally don’t have enough personnel to come and retrieve an animal. First try and open up as many exits to the outside and within the snake’s view to provide an escape route for the snake. Be sure to block off paths to other areas of the house to prevent the snake from entering further. Again, try not to attempt to harass or nudge the snake as it will focus on you and not the escape routes causing it to possibly strike at you. If this is unsuccessful we recommend contacting these two humane animal removal services:
      • Triangle Wildlife Removal, Inc: (919) 661-0722
      • Critter Control: (919) 382-0651
  • I found an injured snake.
    • If you positively determine the snake to be non-venomous and can successfully capture it please make sure it is in a well secured box and or pillowcase tied shut. It is generally best to tape the lid shut and poke pin-sized holes (before snake is in box) to prevent escape. Please be aware that dead snakes can retain an involuntary bite reflex; caution should be used when touching any snake. If you think it may be venomous please do NOT handle the snake and call the hospital for further instructions.


*Note It is a poor idea to take turtles of any kind from the wild to keep as pets: several turtles in North Carolina are either threatened or endangered and therefore ILLEGAL to possess without appropriate permits. Keeping a turtle is also a lot more work than people realize as turtles require a nutritionally varied diet and daily habitat maintenance. It is unsafe to release a native turtle that was captured in the wild in any other location other than the exact place in which it was found. It is also ILLEGAL to release non-native species such as Red-eared Sliders into the wild. If you have a “pet” turtle that you no longer wish to keep please go to Tarheel Reptile Rescue: or . for help.

  • I found a turtle crossing the road.
    • If the turtle is unharmed you may move the turtle out of or further from the road without changing the direction it was originally headed. If the turtle was trying to cross a busy road then the best thing to do is help it get where it was going and place it on the side it was walking towards. Turtles have specific territories and bodies of water in which they spend their lives, unfortunately roads are sometimes built through these territories. Taking a turtle several miles away from its home territory only means the animal is going to attempt to make the trek back to the spot it originated, endangering itself further.
    • If the turtle is injured, please place it in a box and call the hospital for further instructions.
  • My dog was in contact with the turtle.
    • Dogs often see turtles (particularly box turtles) as great chew toys. If your dog has played with a turtle please call the hospital for further instructions. The turtle may need medical attention and pain medication.
  • There is a turtle in my yard, does it need help?
    • If you notice any bubbles coming from the nose, swollen eyes, abnormal growths or injuries the turtle does need professional help, please call the hospital for further instructions.
    • box turtleIf the turtle appears fine and you don’t live near a source of water, you have likely found a box turtle. These are land turtles with rounded, dome like shells that can close and stumpy, non-webbed feet. It is perfectly NORMAL to see these turtles in NC, especially if you live near a wooded area. The turtle may have come out of the shade to the middle of your yard to sun itself and will likely move on in a few hours. If pets are a concern you can move the turtle out of the pets’ reach but still close to the original area.
    • water turtleIf the turtle appears fine and you live near a source of water you may have found a water turtle. These turtles have shells much flatter and wider than box turtles and have webbed feet. Water turtles can not close their shells. Water turtles will come out of the water to sun themselves regularly and to lay their eggs in the early summer and even through fall on occasion.. If pets are a concern you can place the turtle out of reach closer to the waters edge.
  • Both land and water turtles are capable of a painful bite, although often they do not. Turtles should be treated with respect and caution used when handling or moving them.


Domestic Animals

If you have a domestic species of reptile then the PWC is not legally able to admit it. If you would like to get help for that animal you must find the person responsible for it or take responsibility yourself and contact an exotic vet listed below. There are also several rescue organizations for un-wanted pets. For turtle surrenders, please see the Turtles section of the page.


Domestic animals are any animal that is kept as a pet or can be found at a pet store i.e.: dogs, cats, parakeets, hamsters, iguanas, chickens etc. If you find an injured stray animal, you must take it to a veterinary clinic for domestic or exotic species.

PWC is an advocate of Cats Indoors. Please visit their website to make your cat a healthier, safer indoor pet.
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