box turtle

 Scooter the Box Turtle
When we acquired Scooter we were not sure of gender but later discovered Scooter is actually a female. She does not mind her name and we chose not to change it.

Click Here to learn about Scooter





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Turtles of New York

In New York State (as in many other states, check your local laws) it is illegal to possess most of the native turtles without a 'License to Possess'. It is not okay to take a Box turtle out of the wild and keep it for a pet even if you let it roam in your back yard. It is not okay to take a Box turtle from one area and release it to another area. They have a homing instinct and will try to get back to the area where you found it, crossing roads and putting itself in harms way, trying to get there. If you find a Box turtle, or any other native turtle, and it is not injured, leave it where you found it. If it is in a dangerous area move it out of the area to the closest wooded area in the direction it appears to be heading. If found trying to cross a road, put it in the direction it is heading. If it's a water turtle, leave it near the water, it will return to the water on it's own. If you're not sure if it's native or not, contact us, send us a photo, we'll help you ID it and do the right thing.
If you find a hatchling turtle, do not assume it needs to be rescued. It doesn't. It needs to be left alone. Turtles have survived despite human intervention for millions of years, let them continue to do so. It does them more harm to take them into captivity than to let them live the free life in the wild they were meant to live. Look at Scooter:  He was 'rescued' as a hatchling and kept as a pet. Never able to be released to the wild again and deformed beyond repair as the result of improper care. Don't let this happen to another hatchling. Leave them in the wild. Many think but it's just one turtle. But just one turtle has the potential to help reproduce and bring hundreds of new baby turtles into the world. When kept as a pet it has no chance to bring any offspring into the world.
New York state has several native turtles, but no native tortoises. Tortoises are land dwellers. All of the turtles in New York live in or around water areas. Box turtles although they don't live in water, they do like to wallow in the water and need moist habitat to survive.
It is also against NYS laws to import Eastern Box turtles from other states and keep them as pets. It is feared they will be released to the wild and spread pathogens harming the native turtles. So please do not buy box turtles and release them to the wild.
To view the laws of NYS visit the DEC website here:  They are not very clear, but if you have specific questions you can email the DEC and they will clarify for you.
Basically, leave NY's native turtles in the wild. If you want a turtle for a pet, go to a reputable breeder and buy a Captive Bred (CB) turtle or tortoise, or better yet, go to our Adoption Application and fill out and submit the form to help a turtle or tortoise that needs a home.   
NYS turtles:
Blandings Turtle  Emydoidea blandingii (Threatened)
Eastern Box Turtle  Terrapene carolina carolina (Special Concern)
Snapping Turtle  Chelydra serpentina (Protected)
Bog Turtle  Glyptemys muhlenbergii  (Endangered)
Eastern Painted Turtle  Chrysemys picta picta (Protected)
Wood Turtle  Glyptemys insculpta (Special Concern)
Diamondback Terrapin  Malaclemys terrapin terrapin (Protected)
Spotted Turtle  Clemmys gutatta (Special Concern)
Common MapTurtle   Graptemys geographica  (Protected)
Common Musk Turtle  Sternotherus odoratus  (Protected)
Eastern Mud Turtle  Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum   (Endangered)
Spiny Softshell Turtle  Apalone spinifer spinifer  (Special Concern)

To see picture of all New York turtles, please visit:
The Turtles of New York State Brochure


New York State Has Established A Tip Hot line. If you see something related to wildlife that you think is illegal (Sale of any reptile or amphibian species native to New York State for any purpose food, pets, whatever) or turtles under four inches on street corners, etc., call them. 1-800-847-7332 this line is open 24/7.


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