Turtle Adoption – Top 8 Turtle Rescues in North Carolina! (2024)


The North Carolina blue coast brings nesting sea turtles to shore, while turtles and tortoises thrive in the lush landscapes inland. If you’re interested in this cute reptile, turtle adoption is the best choice for you and your pet. 

Pet turtles get advertised as low-maintenance pets. However, turtles are far from low-maintenance, considering their long lifespan.

Many turtles live well over 30 years, causing pet owners to surrender them instead of handling years of tank maintenance and care. Therefore, you mustn’t take it lightly when adopting one.

Pet owners can have beautiful turtles for cheaper than pet stores or breeders by adopting turtles. Below are some of the best pet turtle adoption centers in North Carolina for anyone interested in adopting a new friend. 

Check out these top eight turtle rescues in North Carolina that have been rescuing turtles and finding them homes for years. 

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Why Do Turtles End Up in North Carolina Shelters?


Turtles in North Carolina end up in shelters and rescue centers for the following reasons:

  • The pet turtle grows too big for their enclosure 
  • The owner dies 
  • Tank maintenance is too much work 
  • Owner moves
  • A new pet or baby joins the family 
  • Neglect, abuse, and abandonment 
  • Rescued from injury 

Turtles typically end up in North Carolina shelters because they outlive their owner or are rescued.

Turtles, tortoises, and sea turtles all appear in animal shelters and rehabilitation centers since North Carolina is home to beautiful coastlines and lush landscapes. 

Top 8 Turtle Rescues in North Carolina


Check out the top eight turtle rescues in North Carolina listed below, from sea turtle rescue centers to turtle sanctuaries. 

Sea turtle adoption is a symbolic adoption contributing to the costs of protecting, rescuing, and rehabilitating sea turtles in North Carolina.

Sometimes symbolic adoptions include discounts for entrance tickets to the center or tracking information about the adopted sea turtle. 

Other places on this list have turtles and tortoises for actual adoption. Before bringing your new pet home, all interested adopters must answer some questions. Turtle care centers ensure that adoptive parents have the perfect conditions at home for the turtle.

Most places require you to submit photos of enclosure spaces and complete a questionnaire. 

If you’re up for the commitment, these are the eight best turtle rescues in North Carolina. Ready to dive in?

1. Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center


The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (KBSTRRC) is one of the most well-known sea turtle rescue centers in North Carolina. 

The KBSTRRC rehabilitates and rescues sea turtles along the North Carolina coast. As a vet clinic and rescue center, they heal injured animals and work with rescue organizations like the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project

The KBSTRRC is open to the public and offers tours of the facilities on weekends. Adopting turtles is a symbolic gesture that contributes to the conservation of sea turtles.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Details: 

2. BeWild Reptile Rescue


BeWild Reptile Rescue is one of the best turtle rescues in North Carolina, with rescue turtles available for adoption. 

This rescue center opened its doors in 2018 and has helped hundreds of in-need reptiles. BeWild accepts surrendered pets.

All surrendered pets undergo a quarantine period to ensure they’re healthy before being listed for adoption on the BeWild Reptile Rescue Petfinder page. 

Those interested in adopting turtles from the BeWild Reptile Rescue Center must complete the application form and email it to [email protected].  

Remember that this rescue center does not accept yellow-bellied or red-eared sliders for surrender. 

BeWild Reptile Rescue Details:

3. Fresh Start Rescue, Inc.


Fresh Start Rescue is committed to rescuing turtles and all reptiles in North Carolina. The Fresh Start Rescue Center fosters, rehabilitates, and rehomes needy animals. 

Contact this rescue center to inquire about available species if you’re looking for adoptable turtles. The friendly staff at Fresh Start Rescue will guide you through the adoption process and provide all the necessary forms for the screening process. 

Fresh Start Rescue hosts small and large parties to educate the public about the many reptiles that come and go from the center.

Or, if you’re interested in volunteering around these beautiful creatures, sign up as a volunteer on the Fresh Start Rescue official website. 

Fresh Start Rescue Details: 

4. North Carolina Tortoise Sanctuary


The North Carolina Tortoise Sanctuary provides a haven for tortoises and turtles in North Carolina.

Their goal is to rehabilitate and release as many reptiles as possible. However, once abandoned, many animals cannot be released back into the wild and need a permanent home in captivity. 

This turtle sanctuary predominantly focuses on housing rescued turtles on their gorgeous property with different enclosures suited to various types of turtles and tortoises.

However, they also have adoptable turtles for those living in North Carolina who have the space in their homes and hearts for these inspiring creatures. 

North Carolina Tortoise Sanctuary Details: 

5. Piedmont Reptile Rescue


The Piedmont Reptile Rescue in North Carolina is one of the best places to adopt a turtle or reptile.

Remember that the adoptable animals from Piedmont Reptile Rescue have all been surrendered or rescued, so details about the gender or breed may be unknown.  

Email, call, or fill out the contact form on the Piedmont Reptile Rescue official webpage for more information about the turtles available for adoption and the steps to bring them home.

After a screening process, take your new pet turtle home and enjoy its companionship for years to come. 

This reptile rescue center is one of the few places to ship reptiles if you don’t live within driving distance. 

Piedmont Reptile Rescue Details: 

6. CCSB Reptile Rescue & Rehab Center


The CCSB Reptile Rescue and Rehab Center is a turtle rescue that’s open to the public every day of the week. This rescue center focuses on rescuing reptiles, like turtles, lizards, and snakes. 

Adopting turtles is a fun and exciting process with a team of expert reptile caregivers who want what’s best for each pet. This rescue center is home to over 250 resident reptiles native and exotic to North Carolina. 

Not only does the CCSB Reptile Rescue and Rehab Center offer animals for adoption and accept ones for surrender, but the center also provides caregiving courses to prepare potential pet owners for owning a pet turtle. 

CCSB Reptile Rescue & Rehab Center Details: 

7. Annwn Animal Sanctuary


You can find almost any cool pet at the Annwn Animal Sanctuary (AAS) in Raleigh, North Carolina. This animal sanctuary was opened in 2021 by the husband-wife duo Grace and James Danks. 

The AAS rescues and rehomes turtles, lizards, hedgehogs, rabbits, and more. This animal sanctuary is not open to the public. Instead, they accept visitors by appointment only. 

The Annwn Animal Sanctuary’s official website has information about adoptable turtles. Those interested in being a pet parent must first complete the adoption form

Annwn Animal Sanctuary Details: 

8. Outer Banks Forever


Outer Banks Forever is a North Carolina organization focused on sea turtle rescue and marine life conservation. This fantastic company is dedicated to rescuing turtles and ensuring the safety of turtle nests on North Carolina’s beautiful beaches. 

With Outer Banks Forever, those interested in helping with turtle conservation can symbolically adopt a turtle nest.

The donations made from adopting turtles go towards turtle conservation programs. In 2020, Outer Banks Forever raised over $10,000 from sea turtle adoptions. 

Head over to the Outer Banks Forever official website for valuable resources about sea turtle conservation and ways to get involved. 

Outer Banks Forever Details: 

Turtle Adoption – Top 8 Turtle Rescues in North Carolina


Caring for a turtle requires years of commitment, attention, and a well-maintained enclosure, pond, or tank.

If you’re up for the responsibility and attention that adopting a turtle requires, these top eight turtle rescues in North Carolina have all-size turtles waiting for new homes. 

Call or visit any of these fantastic rescue centers for an opportunity to donate, adopt, or foster a new family-friendly pet that’ll remind you to take life slow and steady. 

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