Turtle and Tortoise Rescue Program

GCTTS Turtle and Tortoise Rescue Program

One of the goals of the Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise society reads:

* Provide a turtle and tortoise rescue and rehabilitation operation in cooperation with other wildlife rescue organizations and turtle and tortoise societies.

The GCTTS provides a rescue program to satisfy this society goal.

If you know of a turtle or tortoise that needs to be rescued, please use our Contact page.

When you contact us, let us know where you are located so we can refer you to the closest drop off location for the type of turtle/tortoise you have. (water turtle vs. land turtle, injured vs non-injured) Below are attached a Turtle Release Form and a Donation Form. If you can, please fill out the release form and bring it with you when you drop off your turtle or tortoise. If you would like to make a donation to the GCTTS, please fill our the Donation Form.

If you are not in the Houston area, you can arrange to have the animal shipped to us. Here are suggestions for shipping:

(Packaging and Shipping)

For reasons described in our FAQ list, we do not release native box turtles. Turtles that have been pets are observed by our rehabbers to make sure that they are healthy and are eating natural foods. Land turtles are housed outside in natural backyard habitats. Water turtles are allowed in backyard ponds for outside acclimation and observation. This period also gives the turtles an opportunity to develop their immune system (captives have often been housed in relatively "sterile" indoor environments and may not have robust immune systems). By this combination of observation and exposure in a natural outdoor setting the animal has a much better chance of living a long, healthy and happy life.

Rescue Policy

GCTTS offers our rescue service to any turtle or tortoise that needs help as further detailed. We normally to not have the resources to pickup turtles you have. You must make arrangements to bring turtles or tortoises to one of our drop off locations.

GCTTS will not take in animals during the hibernation season (roughly September through March) except under unusual circumstances. Turtles that are healthy but are in need of a new home should be retained by their owner until GCTTS can house them outdoors in the Spring.

We encourage responsible ownership of these animals. If your turtle needs veterinary care, please provide it. To avoid having the GCTTS being used as a free veterinary service, our policy is that we will not accept a sick or injured pet turtle simply because the owner does not want to spend the money to take it to a vet.

Anyone wishing to give us unwanted box turtle offspring that are not surrendering ALL of their turtles will be required to first build pens to separate their sexes, submit photos of those pens and have them approved prior to us accepting their turtles.

Due to the increased likelihood of indoor turtles developing medical issues, we also ask people to make a real effort to get turtles (including unwanted offspring) they intend to send to us housed outdoors until they are given to GCTTS.

Please understand our policy - the GCTTS simply does not have the resources to rescue turtles resulting from the irresponsible actions of their owners such as not providing veterinary care or not separating sexes to avoid babies.

Drop Off Locations

GCTTS will accept turtles and tortoises into our rescue program as best we can, and we will always try to accommodate wild sick or injured animals. We request that any HEALTHY captives be retained in their current homes during the hibernation season (roughly September through February or March). We can help with husbandry questions year round and our website offers comprehensive information about caring for and overwintering turtles and tortoises.

Any equipment, foods, contributions etc, donated with the turtle(s) are appreciated.