Ask a Vet

Turtle Adoption And Turtle Rescue

By Kerry
Updated on

Some species of turtle are endangered. For example, Sea Turtles are protected by law. Turtle rescue organizations provide rescue services, care for turtles, and educate the public about how to help them.

They research to learn more about them and work towards legislation that makes our beaches and waters safe for them. 

Swimming turtle

But how do we go about adopting or rescuing turtles? Are there rules that we need to follow? It can be tricky to find this information out and leaves many of us wondering who to turn to and trust as we seek to offer turtles a better life. 

If you want to learn more about rescuing turtles and adopting one as your own, this article has everything you need to know.

About Turtles

Turtles are reptiles that have been around for millions of years, and they’re still here today! Turtles are found in all kinds of habitats, from the ocean to freshwater ponds, lakes, rivers, swamps, and even canals. 

They also live on land, as long as there is a source of water nearby. There are more than 100 species of turtles, but only about 30 of them are considered endangered or threatened. 

The most common turtle you will see is the box turtle (Terrapene Carolina), which has a shell that is usually brownish-green with black stripes. Other common types include the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) and the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).

How Do I Adopt A Turtle?

Adopting a turtle involves taking care of it until it becomes an adult. You must be at least 18 years old to adopt a turtle. If you are adopting a hatchling, you must provide food and shelter for it while it grows up. 

You may want to consider getting some training before you start caring for your new pet. This way, you know what to expect when you take care of it. 

Where Can I Adopt A Turtle?

You can find local organizations that rescue turtles and release them back into the wild. Some people keep their pets and then give them away to other people who don’t have room for them. Others sell their pets online or through classified ads.

What Should I Look For When Buying A Turtle?

When you buy a turtle, make sure it is healthy and well-fed. Look for bright, alert eyes and shiny, smooth skin. 

Don’t buy a turtle that looks sick or underfed. Also, make sure that the turtle is not pregnant. Pregnant turtles can get very ill, so you might want to wait until after they have given birth.

Do Turtles Need Special Care?

Yes, they do. Even though they are reptiles, turtles are warm-blooded animals, just like humans. So they need to stay warm and dry during cold weather. 

It is important to protect them from predators, such as raccoons, opossums, and snakes. Make sure that they have plenty of hiding places where they can feel safe and secure.

What Should I Feed My Turtle?

There are many different foods available for turtles. Some people like to give their turtles fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and pears. 

Others prefer to feed their turtles vegetables such as carrots, celery, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, turnips, potatoes, peas, beans, corn, and squash. Make sure to research the turtle diet before you bring your turtle home. 

How Often Should I Feed My Turtle?

Turtle in forest

Feeding your turtle once every day is ideal. Make sure you track how much food you are giving your turtle. 

Also make sure that you clean out his/her tank after each feeding session, and check how much you should be feeding your turtle each day.

How Do I Clean My Turtle’s Tank?

Cleaning your turtle’s tank is important because it helps prevent disease and parasites. To clean your turtle’s tank, use warm water and soap. 

Be careful not to overdo it, though, because too much cleaning can damage the environment inside your turtle’s tank. 

Always test the temperature of the water first before using it to wash your turtle. Never use bleach or ammonia to clean your turtle’s tank. These chemicals can harm your turtle’s health.

How Do I Handle My Turtle?

When handling your turtle, always remember that they are very sensitive animals. Try to avoid touching their head, eyes, mouth, and tail. Don’t pick them up by their shells or tails.

How Do I Transport My Turtle?

You need to carefully transport your turtle to its new home. When transporting your turtle, make sure that you put it in a safe container. 

Avoid carrying your turtle outside or letting it walk around on the ground. Transport your turtle in a cardboard box. You can also put newspapers in the box with the turtle.

Where Can I Find More Information About Turtles?

The American Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Association provides valuable information about turtles. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published a guidebook called Turtles: A Guide to Their Identification and Status.

Final Thoughts

Turtle rescue organizations are extremely important to protect turtles.

Adopting a turtle is a big step, but as long as you know how to properly look after a turtle, it can be a great experience and you’ll have a loving new pet to take care of. 

You can find more information about adopting turtles on many different websites, including The American Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Association

Photo of author
About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.