QUESTION: Hello. I have 10 Indian Roofed Turtles. 6 large size (about 3-4 inches long), 2 medium size (about 2 inches) and 2 small size (about 1 inch). I brought them from local pet shop. Now I want to release them in a large local government pond. The pond has green water and there are fishes in that pond. But no one fishes there. If I release them there will ALL of them get food ? Is there a chance that the fishes will eat turtles ? Or which turtles should I release ? All , big ones, medium ones or small ones ? And if any pond's water is black will they get food there too ? Can I release them in a pond where there are no fish ? My dad's returned home and he says we can't keep them anymore plus there's not enough space to keep the big ones. Should I release the big ones only ? because the medium ones are not so big and small ones are very small. I live in Dhaka, Bangladesh and there are no vets or animal rescue centers in my city. Please help me to free these animals.

ANSWER: Hello Dipto,

I'm sorry that you can no longer keep your turtles. I know they are native to your country so releasing them is an option and the pond you mentioned with the fish sounds like the best spot.

If there are fish in that pond then that indicates that the water is not too polluted and there are likely other small animals like snails living there that the turtles can feed on. The older ones will also eat water plants. Turtles are not eaten by fish.

Turtles are born with very good survival instincts and even though yours have lived in captivity they will know how to survive in the pond. They will not have lost that knowledge. They may have lived in the wild before they were in the pet shop and will now be going back to the life they were meant to have.

I know you are worried about the smallest ones. Would the shop be willing to take back the smallest ones if you just gave them back, without money being refunded?

Perhaps your dad will let you keep just those ones until they are a bit bigger?

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QUESTION: Thanks a lot for your clear answer. I myself have visited another government pond yesterday. That pond also has green water , fishes , insects and some trees around. And most surprisingly I have seen some Indian Roofed Turtles in that pond. They were of different sizes. One was about the length of your knee from ground. Pretty big. And there were some of size of your feet. I think it's very clear that they have grown up in that pond because no one would release such big turtle in a pond because that whole area is restricted. So they are completely safe from humans. Now the question is should I release the very small ones (shell 1.5 inch exactly) ? Will they get food too ? Is there a chance that big ones will attack them or stop them from eating food ? Won't there be a competition in eating food ? And that pond has small woods fallen from trees in water. Some turtles were sitting on it. And that pond has stairs near it but no one uses it. I have given all the data I have. I can keep the small and medium ones. But won't it be better that they get a large space and get food to eat whenever they're hungry ? Please tell me if I should release the small and medium ones (2 and 2.5 inch shell) ? Please reply soon I have to release them very quick. Thanks again.

ANSWER: Hi Dipto,

That spot sounds perfect. There is clearly a suitable food source.

Although, I would not recommend keeping such different sizes of turtles together in a small captive space I would not hesitate to release them together is such a large natural space.

The smaller ones will occupy and hide in different areas of the pond and feed on much smaller items then the adults, so there will not be competition. The adults will also start feeding on plant matter.

There may already be other baby turtles in the pond but you are not likely to see them.
Young reptiles have an inborn instinct to help them survive. They know to stay hidden to avoid predators until they are larger.

I'm glad you found such a suitable spot where your turtles can live out a happy and natural life.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Madam. It's me again. I've released the big ones into that pond and kept the rest in my house. But another question is haunting my mind. I took them in a small bag. I didn't have anything larger. I threw the whole bag into the pond. My question is : Can 6 turtles of 3.5 inch shell BLIND each other by their nail ? Because they were kept in a small space. They were always moving in the bag and trying to get out. Please relieve me from this mental pain. Sorry to bother you again.

Hello Dipto,

I really don`t think they would have injured each other.

Even though their legs were out and moving in the bag, I strongly suspect they kept their heads partially pulled back between their front legs and protected. Turtles are very smart and quick about protecting their heads and instinctively keep them out of danger.

Turtles are often transported together in crowded conditions in the pet trade where they are crawling over each other. I never saw one arrive with eye injuries as a result.


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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