This week, the Wildlife Center is celebrating World Turtle Day – which takes place on May 23. This day, sponsored by the American Tortoise Rescue, is designed to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and to encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.
We're getting ready for "part two" of Turtle Release 2014 -- a dozen turtles will be leaving the Wildlife Center in the next two weeks and will be released back in their home territories. The Center staff will care for these turtles -- and eight other recovering turtle patients -- as usual on Friday. Each day, turtles receive some sort of food enrichment with their basic turtle meal. On World Turtle Day, the menu will include a whole, giant berry for each turtle!
In addition to acknowledging our wild turtle patients, we also celebrate Wilson and Emma — the Wildlife Center’s education turtle and tortoise. Both will be relaxing in their enclosures in the Center’s lobby – no formal program duty today, but they are both ready to meet and greet anyone who comes into the Wildlife Center.
Need help in figuring out how you should celebrate World Turtle Day?
- Make a donation to the Wildlife Center in honor of the turtles!
- Adopt Wilson or Emma through the Center’s Caring for Critters sponsorship program. Celebrate with them year-round!
- Read – or re-read – the archived Wildlife Center Classroom Series: All About Turtles!
- Take "The Turtle Promise" -- and don’t ever keep a wild turtle as a pet. If you truly desire a pet reptile and can make all of the commitments necessary to keeping a healthy, happy herp, please look into adopting. Captive-bred reptiles or rescued turtles are available for adoption in the state of Virginia through several different organizations such as Virginia Reptile Rescue.
- Assist turtles crossing a road by carrying them across in the direction they’re headed. Many turtles crossing roads are egg-laden females looking for appropriate nesting sites.
- Do NOT relocate a turtle to a “better place”. Turtles have small home territories and should be left where they are found. Their survivability depends on it!
- Learn more about the turtles in your area. The Virginia Herpetological Society has great information on Virginia’s wild turtles.
- Take special care when dealing with a Snapping Turtle. These turtles may be as much as 19 inches long, weigh up to 35 pounds, have powerful jaws, and a long neck . To handle a large Snapping Turtle safely, avoid the front half of the turtle’s body. While wearing gloves, place one hand on the base of the turtle’s tail – to help stabilize and secure the turtle – and slide the other hand halfway under the turtle’s shell.
- Watch out for turtles and other wildlife when mowing lawns and doing other yard-work.
- Help monitor the declining Eastern Box Turtle population in Virginia by filling out this Box Turtle Reporting form whenever you encounter one!
- If you find an injured turtle, put it in a box and contact the Wildlife Center of Virginia or a permitted wildlife rehabilitator. Make sure to record details of the rescue location so that the turtle can be returned there once it has healed.
- Tune in to your local "oldies" radio station ... and request songs by "The Turtles." Share these turtle tips with the station!
- Keep domestic animals indoors or on leashes. Free-roaming dogs and cats injure and kill millions of wild animals each year.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling a turtle.
- Share these turtle tips and photos – and spread the word!
We hope you have a happy World Turtle Day!