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I live in South Africa, Kwazulu Natal. One of my learners at school found a turtle on his way to school. I don't have a idea what kind it is! Its got a flat shell, rounded head, no webbed feet, but long nails at the end of toes. Its about 8cm long and 5cm wide. Please help me! I really want to help the poor animal, but need more info on food and so on. And a name for specie if possible!

Hi Henriette,

The best thing to do is to release the turtle in a safe area near where it was found.  I can't ID it for you without seeing very clear, close photos of it, but in any case, unless the turtle is injured it belongs in the wild.  Turtles require a lot of room and specific care (special bulbs, temperatures, variety of food, etc.), so unless you are already experienced attempting to keep it really isn't a good idea.  In addition, turtles can live 50 years or longer, so keeping it would mean making a very long term commitment to its care.  Best to release it.  : )


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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