Turtle Adoption – Top 10 Turtle Rescues in the USA! (2024)

Turtles are incredible reptiles that make excellent housepets when they have the proper room to live and grow over their long lives.

Turtles give more than 30 years of companionship, yet many turtle owners surrender their pets due to the years of care they require.

Luckily, there are many places in the USA where pet owners can go to surrender and adopt turtles. Continue reading to discover more about adoptable turtles and a list of the top ten turtle rescues in the USA.

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Why Do Turtles End Up in Shelters?


Turtles are often marketed as low-maintenance pets.

However, they have long lifespans, typically ranging between 40 to 100 years, making them less low-maintenance than pet owners might think. Some of the reasons turtles end up in shelters include

  • Too much tank maintenance
  • Adjustments in living situations like new pets or house members
  • Neglect, abuse, and abandonment
  • The owner dies or moves houses
  • The turtle grows bigger than the owner’s expectations

Turtles also end up in shelters when they are abandoned in the wild. Non-native turtle species can be harmful when introduced to native turtle habitats.

Some non-native or invasive turtles are rescued from the wild and brought to shelters for care in safe environments.

Top 10 Turtle Rescues in the USA


Turtle adoption is an exceptional way for pet owners to give a loving home to a turtle in need. To find a turtle rescue near you, Google your location and explore highly-rated pet shelters and rescue centers within driving distance.

Below are ten of the best turtle rescues in the United States to give you examples of some reputable turtle shelters

Not all animal shelters have the capacity to care for turtles and reptiles, so be sure to check in advance that the best shelter near you has turtles for adoption and not just cats and dogs.

All turtle rescues on this list require potential pet owners to fill out an adoption form so that the shelter can ensure you are suited to handle the requirements and have the space needed to give a turtle a happy home.

1. Southern Arizona Reptile Rescue & Education


If you want to adopt turtles in Arizona, the Southern Arizona Reptile Rescue & Education animal shelter takes in and cares for rescue turtles.

Located in Tucson, AZ, this animal shelter accepts non-native and non-restricted reptiles for a small surrender fee.

Desiring pet owners can apply to adopt a turtle. The adoption form requires photos of spaces where the turtle will be housed and proof of experience.

This reptile shelter is open seven days a week from 10 AM until 3 to 5 PM, depending on the day.

Southern Arizona Reptile Rescue & Education Details:

2. BeWild Reptile Rescue


The BeWild Reptile Rescue is one of the best rescue centers for those interested in surrendering or adopting turtles in North Carolina.

The BeWild Reptile Rescue center uses PetFinder to advertise adorable photos of adoptable turtles, lizards, and snakes.

At this rescue center, all animals are quarantined for a month before adoption to reduce the spread of bacteria and diseases. Keep in mind that adopted reptiles from BeWild are prohibited from being used for breeding.

BeWild Reptile Rescue Details:

3. California Turtle and Tortoise Club


The California Turtle and Tortoise Club (CTTC) is one of California’s best places for turtle adoption. The CTTC has 13 chapters across California that collects and finds a home for turtles and tortoises.

The CTTC has tons of helpful resources about turtle care and conservation. All potential adopters must first complete the CTTC adoption application form to document their experience with turtles and details of the turtles’ living conditions.

California Turtle and Tortoise Club Details:

4. Santucci Small Animal And Reptile Rescue


The Santucci Small Animal And Reptile Rescue center is one of the best places to adopt a turtle in Florida. This rescue center has years of experience rescuing turtles and placing them into happy homes.

On their website, you can view some of the lizards, snakes, and turtles for adoption. However, you must make an appointment to see the animals in person.

Santucci Small Animal And Reptile Rescue Details:

5. Eden Animal Sanctuary


The Eden Animal Sanctuary in Texas has lots of adorable and adoptable turtles and reptiles. Their official website features valuable resources for turtle and tortoise care.

Anyone adopting turtles must first become a member of the Eden Animal Sanctuary. Adopters must also be over 18 and prove they have suitable conditions for the adopted reptile. Adopters are not permitted to breed any animals from this rescue center.

Eden Animal Sanctuary Details:

6. Sarah’s Pets and Plants


Check out Sarah’s Pets and Plants in Pennsylvania for rescue turtles, snakes, lizards, fish, birds, and more. Set in a lush environment filled with plants, this rescue center, and pet supply store has a wide selection of adoptable turtles and creatures.

You’ll have to get approved before adopting. Once approved, you can meet your turtle in person and bring it home.

Visit the events page on their official website for information about free petting sessions, or schedule an appointment to check out what turtles they have available for adoption.

Sarah’s Pets and Plants Details:

7. Sean Casey Animal Rescue


Sean Casey Animal Rescue (SCAR) in New York has a wide variety of animals, including adoptable turtles.

Anyone near Brooklyn interested in rescuing turtles can inquire by email or phone call about what kinds of reptiles they have available for adoption.

SCAR has valuable resources on its official website, like questions to ask before adopting, volunteer opportunities, and more. SCAR even offers pet fostering.

Sean Casey Animal Rescue Details:

8. Georgia Sea Turtle Center


The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a rehabilitation center for sea turtles. Here, members can enjoy educational talks about conservation and visit sea turtles in the process of rehabilitation.

At this sea turtle rescue center, adopting turtles is a symbolic gesture to help offset the costs of saving Loggerhead and Green sea turtles. However, members have unlimited general access to the center and can visit their turtle friends any time they please.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is open every day between 9 AM and 5 PM.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Details:

9. Colorado Reptile Humane Society


The Colorado Reptile Humane Society (CRHS) is one of the best places to adopt turtles in Colorado. This animal shelter supports conservation and rehabilitation for a wide variety of reptiles, including tortoises, land turtles, and aquatic turtles.

The CRHS accepts adoption applications and ensures the adoptive parents have a suitable environment for their new turtle friend.

Animal lovers can find resources about conservation, volunteer opportunities, and an ever-changing list of animals for adoption on the CRHS official website.

Colorado Reptile Humane Society Details:

10. Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society


The Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society (MATTS) in Maryland care for turtles and supports their conservation and rehabilitation.

MATTS is an all-volunteer-based animal rescue service. Instead of one location, the animals are in volunteer homes until a forever home is found.

Those wanting to surrender a turtle or adopt turtles must contact the Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society via email or phone. To request an adoption form, send an email to [email protected].

The official MATTS website has valuable resources like how to handle turtles, videos, and events.

Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society Details:

Conclusion For “Turtle Adoption – Top 10 Turtle Rescues in the USA!”


Caring for a turtle is a rewarding experience that transforms into a 30+ year friendship. Adopting a turtle allows pet owners to enjoy their time with an amazing animal and give a home to a surrendered pet.

Now that you know everything about the best places for adopting turtles, head over to the nearest shelter and give a home to a previously-owned turtle if you’re ready for the job.

These top ten turtle rescues in the USA provide temporary care and love to surrendered pets until someone like you comes along and brings them home.

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