Vermont Fish and Wildlife is warning people to think twice before they take a Native Vermont turtle home as a pet.
Wildlife biologist Steven Parren says he gets contacted about pet turtles people no longer want every year. Some turtles grow too large, Others require more complicated care than owners realize. Turtles kept indoors require full-spectrum lighting for healthy shell development.
Turtles can live 50 years or longer so having one as a pet can be a lengthy and illegal commitment.
Not only is it illegal to keep native turtles as pets in Vermont, releasing captive native turtles into the wild could introduce diseases to the local turtle populations. Often, releasing a pet turtle is not a safe option, so a facility must be found to take in the turtle. According to Parren many facilities have too many of some turtle species and aren’t accepting common ones anymore. This could result in unwanted pet turtles being put down.
The Fish and Wildlife department advises people to admire native turtles from a far and take pictures of them if they would like. If you see a turtle in the line of danger on a road you can safely help them off the road, but it is best to leave native turtles in the wild.