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Turtles/Releasing Turtles


Hello there. I have two hatchling Indian Roofed Turtles. Size about 1 Inch. I am a busy person for which currently I am not able to take good care of them. So I am thinking of releasing them in a very large lake. The water color of that lake is green and it has lots of trees around it. And many people walk and sit near it. As far as I know there is no fish in it and so no one fishes there. Should I release them there ? As I said they are just babies. Will they get food in that lake ? And by the way there is no turtle food available in my city. What are the homemade food that I can feed them ? Currently I'm feeding them fish food. Thank You.

Hi Paul,

I do have to wonder why you took on two turtles if you don't have time to care for them and don't seem to know what they require.  In any case, no, I strongly recommend against releasing them.  Captive turtles can carry different pathogens than wild turtles, and releasing them can potentially introduce pathogens/disease into the wild populations that they have no immunities for.  If you are unable to properly care for them, find a good home with someone who is knowledgeable enough to take proper care of them.

Turtle food is not a completely adequate diet for turtles (neither is fish food).  Wild turtles don't eat pellets--they eat whole foods, including animal protein and plants.  You should feed your turtles a variety of foods, which can include feeder crickets, earthworms, krill, blood worms, shrimp; water plants (anacharis or duckweed go well in tanks); vegetables such as greens, squash, etc.  Don't overfeed and make sure they are in a big enough tank (for two, 40 gallons will be big enough for a few years) with very good filtration.  Basking and UVB lighting is also necessary, along with adequate basking room for both turtles.  If you have them set up properly with plenty of room, caring for them won't take too much of your time.  


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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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