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never release captive turtles into the wild


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#1 Amanda1

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 11:23 AM

I wrote this today, i think it is helpful

Releasing turtles into the wild


Once a turtle is in captivity it should not be released back into the wild for the following reasons:


1. The turtle can spread disease picked up in captivity to other turtles in the wild. Pathogens, viruses, and bacteria are not always presented in the form of a symptom. Even if the turtle looks, acts and feeds well it can still carry pathogens that will wipe out entire populations of wild turtles. Your turtle could be immune but be a carrier and therefore highly contagious to other turtles.


2. Wild turtles live in areas where the food will sustain their needs. If everyone who decided his or her turtle would be better off free, think again. If you release the turtle into an area that is already heavy with native turtles, you end up with a situation where they are all competing for a limited amount of food.


3. Turtles should also never be released into the wild because of climate and adaptation. For instance, a non-hibernating turtle such as a Mexican Wood turtle or an African sideneck released in a cold climate like Tennessee, Maine, or anywhere there is potential for freezing weather will surely die. In addition, if your turtle was a pet and has relied on you for food, he may not be the strongest hunter and will slowly and painfully starve to death when he cannot find food easily.


In some cases release is necessary as it pertains to wildlife rehabilitation


A wildlife rehabber's main goal is always to return their patients to the wild IF the animal occurs naturally in that particular area of the country. In the case of Florida Gopher tortoises, extreme care most be used to see that the tortoise NEVER comes into contact with any other species of turtles or tortoises while being held in captivity. They cannot even be put into a pen that another turtle or tortoise was in. You must wash your hands before and after you touch the tortoise. Minimal contact with the tortoise will make for an easier transition as release time approaches. Keep all wild turtles and tortoises on a natural diet and avoid processed or canned foods. You want the turtle or tort to pick up where he left off once released. You must keep their environment sterile at all times. This procedure requires consistency and attention to cleanliness and diet. A certified wildlife rehabber is qualified to do this, but not the general public. If an endemic species ends up in captivity, it's wisest to turn it over to a wildlife rehabilitator who works closely with wildlife agencies and qualified veterinarians. Together they can assure the safe reintroduction of an endemic wild turtle or tortoise.


I hope I have helped you to understand the importance of finding homes for unwanted domestic turtles and the difference why it's all right to release native species only after rehab, but never any turtles that have lived in your home, even for a brief period of time.

#2 Andy

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 11:58 AM

I agree. You did a very good job on this Amanda.

#3 Amanda1

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 12:14 PM

thanks guys :) maybe with some editing I should send it to reptile magazine especially after the 80lb sulcata that was found wandering the beach in fort pierce last week!

#4 peejaie

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 01:00 PM

good read. i think a pamphlet should be made and offered at pet stores that would include this and the truths about turtle needs and growth sizes. education is key and unfortunately most turtle owners are not educated.

#5 BarbReader

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:21 PM

Let me also mention another, more narrow reason:

Captive turtles think of big mammals as sources of food, not of danger.

Timmy checks out every person and animal who comes into my apartment. Most of the turtles in Central Park are released turtles. You can easily tell wild from the released turtles, because the released turtles come to the side of the lake and follow humans around, while the wild turtles are wary of people. I firmly believe that Timmy would last under 48 hours in the wild, after which time he would have attempted to beg from a preditor, and gotten eaten.

#6 Amanda1

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:47 PM

good point barb and one I over looked!

#7 clemmysnut

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 08:17 PM

Nice article Amanda. :) I tell people about reasons 1 and 3, but didn't think about 2. I bet someone thought that sulcatta on the beach was a sea turtle. :lol:

#8 Juicylucykfc82

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 04:13 AM

That is a good point Barb, but it isn't necessarily so. There's a prarie conservation place here in Wichita that features a stream system with lots of different wildlife including turtles. The turtles there are wild, but they're so used to people feeding them that they'll swim right along with you trying to get a bite to eat!

#9 Turtlecrazy1

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 10:17 AM

I agree. You did a very good job on this Amanda.


wow. I agree with you about not releasing them just as much as I believe turtles should not be taken from the wild. Once they have comfortably adapted to captiviy or being free, it's just not right to change it. I commend you on this post!

#10 Docgriz

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 11:38 AM

Amanda wrote 'You must keep their environment sterile at all times.' Good info and for the most part very accurate, but , I don't think you meant to say sterile. That would be impossible to do under normal situations and really not desirable either. Doc

#11 Turtlecrazy1

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 10:54 PM

I wanted to say thankyou for this post. It is very true and very informative. I commend you for taking the time out to make others more aware!

#12 Terrapene

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 05:29 PM

thanks for that :D . very informative. people really need to know these things. Like around here at my local lake where i go fishing pretty often, there are always nonnatives. I have found fl redbellies, tons of res, and ybs. None are native in this area. And ironically you never see adults. You always see the native adult snappers, muskies and painteds but never adult non-natives that says something :(

#13 GhostX

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 06:17 PM

Very good info, some people NEED to read it. I say get it out to pet stores as someone mentioned above.

Ghost

#14 sUpahyphy

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 07:44 PM

really good info amanda....good work :lol:

#15 Bob777

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 08:45 PM

thank you for the info it was very helpful

#16 Turtle&Take6lover

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Posted 04 February 2007 - 06:00 AM

Thank you for posting this topic.
I agree with you! recently in Japan , there are a lot of non-native turtles spreading into the natural world
and their numbers are rapidly increasing...They are depriving native turtles of food and habitats , so native turts are getting scarce..

#17 turtleresort

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 11:53 AM

I just wanted to comment on this stickie. I had someone tell me recently that keeping my turtles was mean and inhumane and theyd be better off in a lake. They had to add this county is under populated. I wanted to scream. I live in Florida and while there are many wild RES, they are an introduced species.
In addition, the reason the area is underpopulated is they keep filling in canals and lakes for road and buildings.

Sunday I walked my dog to a place as kids we called a duck pond. 20 years ago it was full and I really mean full of sliders, as well as live plants, fish and ducks. Today this 100 yards by 50 yards pond is still there, however there are no ducks. On a warm sunny late morning I only saw 2 turtles. The side of the pond had oily residue and trash and no love plants in the pond, nor did I see minnows.

As a matter of fact, in a one mile radius where I grew up there used to be 3 ponds and a canal full of turtles. Today, one is gone completely, one I mentioned above. The canal is a garbage dump and the other one, well lets just say its been years since Ive seen turtles there.

#18 ducky120333

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 01:09 PM

dont EVER release them back in2 the wild! its dangerous 4 them and other turtles

#19 Slowsky

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 01:38 PM

You have a good point here.

#20 April O'Neil

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 10:01 AM

it's funny since getting my turtles, and having just basic idea of how to take care of them at first, i've been taking care of them and reading up on turtles and also reading this board, it seems i've become the person that people get sent to with questions at work. i actually found myself telling someone yesterday why releasing a turtle was not a good idea. during the conversation i accidently adopted a new turtle... first time that's happened, but a few weeks ago, i did talk someone out of turning his turtle free, and hopefully can continue to do that (without adopting them myself).




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