Kai: Once upon a time, I had not seen a turtle in five years.
That all changed this year, when we started seeing turtles (both dead and alive), in our urban neighborhood. We, and several neighbors now have turtles living in our yards – some say they’ve had them for years, but we had not seen one until November of last year, when I was then inspired to do more reptile research.
I have always been a bird and mammal enthusiast, but I knew little about reptiles.
This of course led me to gaining a few turtles of my own, and I ended up learning a lot about both “pet” and wild species of turtles.
Unfortunately, many species of pet and wild turtles mix, because so many pets are dumped, hoarded, or escape. It is hard to know the origin of an urban turtle, but by now, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve seen so many box turtles crossing the streets, there must be a wild population of them in our area.
If you see one in the road, simply put it safely across in the direction it was headed.
If it is injured, contact your local wildlife refuge.
However, do be aware that there can be non-native species out there that may not belong – escaped turtles – and tortoises, are more common than you think. Do your best to identify, as escaped pets can sometimes cause harm to wild turtles, and wildlife rescues will not take non-natives.
Also be aware that there are many regulations where pet turtles are concerned. If you are interested in them as pets, please do your research, and never release a captive-bred individual.
On a personal word of advice, I also must stress the little-known fact that turtles are much more difficult of pets than one would think – they are Extremely long-lived, have species-specific requirements, and must be carefully brumated. Many species grow far larger than what you see at age of acquirement as well. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I encourage you to learn more.
By no means do I discourage this amazing animal as a companion, but it is certainly a highly misunderstood reptile.
So after all of this, I ended up writing a kids book about turtles. November was the 1 year anniversary since adopting Parker, (The turtle in the image) so I wanted to get the book out soon. Hope this inspires you to learn more about turtles, both captive and wild. It’s been a fun adventure for sure.
- This is my favorite channel to watch for reptile info!