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What if I find a...

I Have a Turtle and Cannot Care for It Anymore...
What are my options?

Meet Pumpkin, another adorable, but large turtle.

So, you have a pet turtle and you either don't want it anymore, or you can not provide it with the care you think it needs?

This is a very common problem. There are millions of pet turtles out there without homes. Here at the Turtle Rescue League we get calls all the time with people who want us to come and get their turtle or simply drop it off. I am sorry to say we cannot do that. We would be quickly overwhelmed with turtles, unable to help our native species, or special needs turtles, or even to care for the flood of incoming pets.

The TRL loves turtles, but no agency could just simply take in all turtles that people declare they no longer want. TURTLES ARE THE MOST ABANDONED PET IN THE US. The problem is so bad in other countries, some have banned the importation of non-native turtles. Do not lose hope, there are always options and we can work with you. If you love your turtle, you will put in the effort to help it. There are several options for you, read on.

Option one: put your turtle in the local newspaper. Be sure to give whatever equipment you have away with your turtle. No one wants a turtle in a cardboard box. It will be easier to give your turtle to a good home if it comes with equipment.

NOTE: be sure that whoever you are giving your turtle to is not going to eat it. There are groups of people that collect turtles and see them as a free meal or sell them to stores who will sell them as food. Ask lots of questions from the person who is getting your turtle. You don't need it ending up on someone's dinner plate.
Here are some questions to ask, to make sure your turtle is going to a good home:
Is this turtle for you, your child?
Have you had a turtle before?
What kind of turtle did you have before?
Do you have equipment, UVB lights, filters, etc?
If they never had a turtle, do they have a book or caresheet
for this turtle? (Care Sheets are free to download online.)

Option two: We here at the Turtle Rescue League can help you adopt your turtle out. We can ask the questions of prospective new homes, while posting a profile of your turtle on our adoption page. This might take more time than posting your turtle in a local paper, however we usually find better homes for your turtle.

Meet Shylo, a former pet, rescued from a food market in Worcester, MA.
We will need:
Picture(s) of your turtle(s)
Turtle name, species, and gender (if known)
How long you have had your turtle
Any medical visits it has had
Any equipment it is coming with, (Pictures)

Your name
Your phone number
Your address

We do not give out your info online. We are simply the go-between. Potential adoptees contact us. We then contact you and arrange a pick-up. Adopting out a turtle can take a bit of time in some cases, but finding your little friend a new home is important.

Whatever you do...

Turtles in pet stores are often not native to this area or even this part of the country. The Red-Eared Slider (one of the most common in petstores) is a southern species and wouldn't last long in New England.

Releasing pet turtles is very dangerous to both your turtle (it will probably die) and to the native turtle species. A turtle that is in captivity does not know how to survive in the natural world and will almost always die. The native turtles could possibly get sick and die if they come into contact with your released pet. Pet turtles can carry diseases that Native turtles cannot cope with. There are several instances that an entire local area's turtles were wiped out because of a pet turtle that was released.

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