Don't Let Me Go!
Can I let my turtle go?
"I have a box turtle that has been in captivity for over a decade and now I'd like to let it go. I was worried about her having to fend for herself again. Someone told me it was okay to let her go in a strawberry patch in the end of pring. What are your views on this?"
No. Don't. Please. Don't.
- It is probably illegal. In most states, only licensed Wildlife Rescues can rehabilitate and properly release native wildlife.
- The turtle will die. He is used to being pampered and fed and knows nothing of danger. It doesn't know what's edible, and it's not used looking for food.
- Captive animals carry diseases that will kill wild populations. (One reason Desert Tortoises are endangered is a respiratory virus from released captive animals. Yeah, that bad.)
- The turtle is probably not native to the area you live in. If it is native, contact a local Wildlife Rescue and work with them.
- Find a new home for your turtle: Adoptions and Rescues.
- Consider more efficient setup that is less work to maintain. Check out Indoor Setups and Outdoor Setups.
Where can I let me turtle go?
Usually, the long form of the question is something like this:
"I have had this turtle for a few years. I don’t want it anymore. Wouldn’t it be happier in the wild? Where can I let it go?"
Since most pet turtles are not native to the area where they end up, they cannot be released.
If your turtle is native, for example, you took it home or found it in your yard, contact a local Wildlife Rescue and work with them.
Find a new home for your turtle: Adoptions and Rescues
Unless you are an experienced wildlife rescuer and rehabilitator, with a permit, there are no exceptions.
Find a new home for your turtle
- Releasing Turtles into the Wild
- MSU Museum (Michigan) has detailed instructions primarily for rehabilitators.