Let's Find A Box Turtle!
How to Find a Turtle
If you are looking for a pet: you can buy a turtle from a pet store, adopt a turtle from an animal rescue association, or catch a turtle in the wild. Each option has its bonuses and its downsides. If you have lost a pet turtle, then you'll need to understand how turtles work in order to find the animal.
Buying or Adopting a Turtle
Adopt a turtle.Contact an animal rescue organization. Run a web search for turtle rescue societies in your area. These organizations recover pet turtles that have been lost, abandoned, injured, or otherwise scattered from their homes. This can be a great way to give a turtle a new home.
- You will need to visit a turtle adoption center and prove that you will be a responsible turtle owner. Make sure that you understand what it means to adopt a turtle. These animals require specialized and thoughtful care, feeding, housing, and cleaning.
Find a pet store.If there is a pet store near you, stop in and ask about their turtle selection. If you find a pet store that is relatively far away, then call ahead to ask before you make the trek. Be aware that pet stores do not always take adequate care of turtles.If possible, visit a pet store that is well-reviewed, or that a friend has recommended.
Make sure that the turtle is healthy.This is especially important if you are buying from a pet store. In general, a turtle is healthy if it is active, social, and responsive to human interaction. It should be mobile and well-fitted to its shell. If you aren't sure, ask a pet store employee – but do not take their words without a grain of salt!
- Look for a turtle with bright, clear eyes. Dull, crusty, or pus-filled eyes are a sign that a turtle is infected with disease.
- Find a happy and active animal. Watch the turtle in its tank: it should move around, swim, and splash. If it is in a tank with other turtles, it should be friendly and sociable around the other animals.
- Check that the turtle is not overweight or underweight. If its skin sags from its body, then it might be underweight. If it cannot get fully inside of its shell, then it might be overweight.
Catching a Turtle
Consider leaving a turtle in the wild.It is one thing to buy a turtle from a pet store or adopt a turtle from a rescue society, especially if you intend to take good care of the animal. Taking a turtle from its natural habitat, however, removes it from access to mates, food, and space to wander. Think about whether the turtle would be better off
Find wild turtles.Look along the banks of small ponds, lakes, and slow-moving streams. Turtles like damp areas with a lot of rocks and hiding spots. Turtles are especially active at dawn on rainy days, and they move around a lot in the heat of late May and June.
- Know that turtles love to dig. A turtle may bury itself up to its shell in the loose mud of a sandy bank, and it may be hard to spot unless you keep a sharp eye out. Try poking gently in spots where the bank has shifted. If you feel something solid, it might be a turtle shell.
- Keep your eyes out for turtles in the open: in yards or parks, or crossing the road. If you find a turtle in an unsafe space or an inhospitable environment—such as a road, a hot parking lot, or a very dry area—consider at least moving it to the nearest pond.
Catch the turtle by hand.If the turtle is small and easy to reach, then you can simply pick it up by its shell. Expect the turtle to recoil into its shell when you reach for it. Be careful not to shake the animal or injure it in any way. As soon as possible, place the turtle into an open box with water, a bit of lettuce, and plenty of fresh air.
- Be aware that turtles can bite, and that some can cause serious damage! Do not try to pick up a snapping turtle. It can be done, but it is a risky move.
Build a trap.Consider making a basic turtle trap if you are trying to, say, catch a turtle that's been living in your garden. First, dig a hole deep and steep enough for the turtle to fall into. Alternately, prop up a shoebox on a stick such that the turtle will knock over the stick and trap itself in the box. Then, bait the trap: use leafy greens, or a smelly fish like tuna. Leave the trap overnight, and check it each day until you catch the turtle.
- Make sure to poke air-holes in the shoebox! There is no sense in killing the turtle.
- Place your trap close to where you've seen the turtle. If the turtle is in a pond, make the trap near the shore of the water.
Finding a Lost Turtle
Fence in the area.If you have lost a turtle in your home or yard, create a solid perimeter that keeps the animal from escaping further afield. Close doors, move furniture, and try to keep a good idea of where the turtle might be.
- Restrain any large pets that might try to prey on the turtle. This includes dogs and cats.
Search for the turtle.Check every room. Turtles can move quickly when they want to do so, and the animal may have roamed further than you expect. Look underneath furniture, and do not make any assumptions about where the turtle might be. Expect it to be most active during the day, and to sleep at night.
- Make sure that the turtle hasn't fallen down stairs, or fallen from a high place. Block off these danger zones, if you haven't already.
- Listen for movement. If you have tile or hardwood floors, then you might be able to hear the quiet scratch of the turtle's claws as it walks.
Be patient but proactive.Try leaving food and water out for your turtle so that it emerges from its hiding spot. Keep that part of the house quiet so that the animal feels safe. Expect a turtle to survive on its own for one to two weeks, indoors – but try to find it as quickly as possible to minimize any danger!
- Remember: turtles don't usually drink from small dishes of water. They drink water as they are immersed in it.
QuestionI can't find my turtle anywhere and I looked everywhere. I have two turtles and one clam.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFirst of all, do not panic. Turtles normally like warm places. They also like tight places. Check in tight spots and near things that are warm or hot, such as a hot computer. Also, you may want to leave some pellets or treats for your turtle around the house and it might come out and get it. Be patient and keep looking. Remember, a turtle can survive up to 10 days without food or water.Thanks!
QuestionW found a baby diamondback terrapin. My friend took it home then released it into the wild. Will it be okay? Also, would I need to pay a fine for having a wild turtle?Gianna NovakCommunity AnswerYes, it will be okay, and it depends on where you live whether or not you would have to pay a fee.Thanks!
QuestionI have lost my turtle. I had left it out in my hall. What should I do to find it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerClose any doors or gates to prevent it from leaving the house, and leave food around the area where you lost it. I usually find my turtle in my closet, so check any warm, dark places around your house.Thanks!
QuestionWhere can you find a turtle?Payton MaguireCommunity AnswerTry looking in marshy areas, swamp wetlands, etc. For aquatic turtles try looking in slow flowing rivers, large ponds, or small lakes.Thanks!
QuestionMy baby turtle is wild and she loves it in her environment in my house, is that a good sign?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, if the turtle is happy, that usually means it's healthy and okay. Just keep doing what you're doing or make a daily routine on taking care of it.Thanks!
QuestionI have one in my backyard but now I can't find it and I have a big backyard. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThink about where a turtle would hide. Would it be under a log? Near water? Usually turtles like moist environments.Thanks!
QuestionWhat other foods could I put out for my turtle to make it come out of hiding?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTurtles love veggies, though you'd have to look up which kinds are best for your specific breed. Maybe some live or dried crickets or mealworms would help, too. Do a little research.Thanks!
QuestionIs it OK to have a wild turtle in my house?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. They can carry many diseases, and since they are not captive bred, they will have a hard time adjusting to a new home.Thanks!
Video: How to Find and Catch Snapping Turtles By Hand
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