I just found a turtle and I think it's some kind of water turtle. It isn't hurt and doesn't look sick. Can I release it?

If you are not positive about the identification of a turtle or its health, we recommnend that you do not release it. Here are some things to consider:

  • Many times exotic non-native species are found by people. These turtles have been pets and may have been released or are escapees.
  • Many are not capable of living on there own in the wild due to specific climate or diet requirements.
  • Quite often the public misidentifies turtles.

  • Some turtles can drown if put into water.
  • Water turtles must be in water in order to eat.
  • Turtles that have been pets can be sick and spread disease to native wild populations.
  • Introducing a wild native water turtle to a different area can be harmful.
  • Introducing a species not native to an area could be bad for the environment.
  • Many non-native species can resemble native species to an untrained eye.

You might be able to identify the turtle using our image gallery. If you are still having problems with identification, you may email us with photos, if your photos are resized to be no larger than 800 x 600 pixels. Huge photo file sizes will delay our response.

Even if you can positively identify a turtle, depending on where it was found, it possibly should not be released. (See the other two questions on pet turtles and release.) Contact the GCTTS and discuss the specific situation with us and we will help you decide what should be done with the turtle.