Having a pet turtle is not as easy as it seems. That’s why some turtle owners changed their minds. Releasing pet turtles in the wild is becoming a problem. It happens when some people buy a turtle without enough knowledge about them. The worst thing that you can do is to release it in the wild.
Pet turtles should never be released back to nature. It can be dangerous for the turtle and it will also disrupt the ecosystem. These turtles are usually grown in captivity. They can’t survive if you release them in the wild. There are other reasons why you should never do this. Keep reading to learn more.
Will a Pet Turtle Survive in the Wild?
When you buy a turtle from a pet store, it’s usually born in captivity. That means that they never experienced living in the wild. Pet turtles don’t need to worry about food or their predators. They already have everything available for them inside the turtle tank. It’s going to be next to impossible for pet turtles to survive in the wild. Below are the reasons why they might not be able to make it.
Food is the most important requirement for turtles. Pet turtles don’t have to worry about that anymore. They just need to wait for their owners to provide for them. Everything is already provided for them in the turtle tank. In some instances, they have to catch feeder fish but that’s only for the fun of it.
In the wild, turtles have to look for their food. It may also take a while. Wild turtles will eat vegetation if they can’t find prey. They rarely eat meat and only in small portions. Insects, snails, worms, and small fish are their protein source in the wild. It means that they have to hunt for their prey so they can eat some meat.
Unfortunately, it will be hard for pet turtles to survive in the wild. Their instincts were lost because of being in captivity for a long time. They are born with hunting instincts but since they don’t need it, that skill is lost. Pet turtles are usually born in captivity. That’s why it will be hard for them to survive out there.
Baby turtles can survive in the wild easily if that’s where they were hatched. They only require less food compared to adult turtles. They also use their instincts once they get out of their nest. It’s natural for them to learn as they grow in the wild. But pet turtles don’t have that time to adjust if they end up there.
It’s not a problem for pet turtles since they don’t have predators inside their enclosure. Most of them can even get easily scared when they see other humans. Although it’s not common for them to encounter pets such as cats or dogs. They can hide from the turtle tank easily or retract on their shells.
Although pet turtles still have their instinct to defend themselves in case of predators. People and pets are not going to hurt them. But they will bite or hide in their shells when they feel threatened. Unfortunately, their defense mechanism is not enough to defend themselves in the wild.
Pet turtles are no match for snakes, alligators, raccoons, and other wild animals. It will be hard for them to defend themselves when real danger comes along. Wild turtles are always alert since they know that predators can attack them anytime. They can fight by biting them if the predator tries to eat them.
Predator attacks to attempt to have the turtle as its meal. That means that the turtle needs to be injured from the attack. Wild turtles will retract from their shells to hide from the predator until it gives up pursuing them. It can be an unpleasant ordeal for the turtle. But that’s how it goes when they are in the wild. Wild turtles have to deal with that every day but pets never have the same experience.
Unlike pet turtles, wild turtles know what to do and hide from predators. They are good at hiding and predators can’t locate them easily. It’s possible since they have a lot of time practicing that skill in the wild. Wild turtles have also tried different hiding spots. Pet turtles don’t have to deal with predators in their enclosure. That makes them an easy target when they are released in the wild.
3. Basking Area
Another reason why pet turtles may not be able to survive in the wild is the basking area. It’s important for turtles to bask to stay healthy. Pet turtles have a basking area available for them all the time. It comes with a heat lamp and UV lights as well. That’s very convenient for pet turtles.
This will ensure that pet turtles can get the right amount of UV rays and warmth every day. Pet turtles just need to walk or swim to the basking area. It’s near the water so they can easily start basking. But in the wild, it’s not that easy. Wild turtles need to find a good basking spot and it can take a while.
Most wild turtles may not find a good spot for them to bask. At least not the same basking area for pet turtles. If they find a good basking spot, it will be crowded. Wild turtles usually fight to get their spot. Another way to bask in the wild is to stack on the tip of each other. It will help them get their required UV light and heat when they are in the wild.
4. Other Turtles
It can be a problem for pet turtles to interact with other turtles. They don’t need to do this in captivity. It can be another problem if they are released in the wild. Turtles are not a social type of animal, to begin with. They interact with another turtle to either reproduce or fight over food and basking spots.
Turtles need to interact with other turtles to get better at this. That’s how they will learn how to intimidate their competition. They also have to fight now and then. Social skills are important for wild turtles since they have to deal with others. Adult turtles may only have a few chances to attract a mate.
To do this, turtles need to fight other turtles. If the pet turtle has a shared tank with another turtle, that’s better. But for pet turtles who grow up alone, it can be a problem. Wild turtles have mastered socializing with other turtles. Pet turtles need to practice more and it can be tough for them to survive in the wild.
How Pet Turtles Disrupt the Ecosystem?
Even if a pet turtle managed to survive in the wild, it can still cause another issue. They can harm the ecosystem which is bad for everyone around. It can happen because of different reasons.
1. Diseases and Bacterias
Pet turtles may have bacteria or diseases that may be harmless to them. But it can be a hazard to other animals. It will spread the bacteria they may have. When it infects the whole area, many species will end up with a disease that can harm them.
2. Food Chain
When pet turtles end up in the wild, they also need to eat. That can disrupt the food chain around the area. It means that other species may go hungry. Even if they just eat a few insects, that can still be an issue for other wild animals since they don’t have food.
When that happens, some animals will look for other places to have something to eat. That can be dangerous for them since predators are all over the wilderness. The animals will need to find other sources of food. It may kill other species in the process.
When multiple pet turtles are released back into the wild, that will cause overpopulation. If they all survive, it means that they will also reproduce. They will have offspring which can add up to the general population. Having new species living in a certain ecosystem can cause a disaster. The animals have to fight for food so that they can also survive.
4. Destroying the Balance
The ecosystem has its own balance and animals also eat other animals. It’s the best way for them to maintain their population. Some animals are herbivores and eat only plant-based food. Others are carnivores that only eat meat. Every animal in an ecosystem has a role to play to ensure its survival.
The ecosystem balance was formed after thousands of years. It takes time to make sure that it’s not overpopulated and everyone can eat. A few species only remained from the past. Nature has taken out the species that can destroy the balance of the ecosystem. The ecosystem needs to stay that way.
However, adding new species to nature can be dangerous. Turtles can adapt to different conditions. They have to eat the food that is supposed to be for other wild animals. The space that is supposed to be for other species will be used. These things can be bad for other animals and may lead to their extinction.
How About Releasing a Rescued Turtle?
Injured turtles need to be rescued when you find them. They need to be kept in captivity for a few months. Some injuries may take time before the turtle is healed. For this reason, it’s alright to release the turtle back into the wild. It’s the turtle’s natural habitat from the start.
They have lived there before being captive to be treated. It will be easy for them to resume their usual lifestyle in the wild. That will not be a problem but rescuing them can be an issue. Wild turtles can’t adapt well in captivity. Even if it’s just a temporary setup, it can be challenging to keep them until they heal.
Can a Pet Red-Eared Slider Be Released in the Wild?
If you have a pet red-eared slider but it suddenly reproduces, it can be an issue. That means that you will have more turtles. It can be hard to afford to take care of them. Red-eared sliders need to have a good size tank which can be costly. What should be done in this situation?
If you’re thinking of releasing them in the wild, think again. Most people think that it’s the turtle’s natural habitat. That means that they will be fine there. But it’s not the case since pet turtles may die if you do that. Red-eared sliders are small turtle species. They are friendly and it’s easy to get fond of them.
Getting rid of them can be tough but throwing them in the wild is not a good idea. Pet turtles will not have a good chance of survival in nature. Never consider releasing them in the wild. It’s not the best thing to do for pry turtles. There are other ways that you can get rid of them so keep on reading.
Why Should a Pet Red-Eared Slider Not Be Released in the Wild?
1. Hunt for Food
In the wild, food will be scarce if you release a pet title there. The pet red-eared slider is not an experienced hunter. It can’t hunt for its meal and it will starve. Coping with life in the wild is not easy for them. The red-eared slider will end up dying if you release it to the wild.
2. Fight to Survive
The red-eared slider who lives in the wild is vulgar. They will fight each other to survive in nature. Pet turtles will not be able to win the challenge. They are not used to having to fight for food. It will end up not having enough energy because it’s hungry as well. Pet turtles will not stand a chance against wild turtles.
3. Safety Issues
The pet red-eared slider must stay in the safety of the tank for some time. Even from the pet store, they are kept inside a turtle tank. They will be ignorant about the things that are happening in the wild. It will be unsafe for them to be out in the wild. They don’t know when a predator will show up.
Pet turtles will not be happy even if they manage to survive in the wild. It can get homesick and miss the tank life. When they were still in captivity, their owners cared for them. But in the wild, nobody will be taking care of them. They have to endure everything on their own.
Can a Pet Box Turtle Survive in the Wild?
No, a pet box turtle cannot survive being in the wild. They can get tired quickly and it will be hard for them to escape their predators. It’s also hard for them to adjust to their new environment. But it’s not just nature that box turtles cannot cope with. They should not be released because of different reasons.
Before making a drastic decision, you have to think about it first. You must check where the box turtle is sourced from. It’s also important to know how long it has been reared as a pet. Learn if it’s a wild box turtle or a pet breed. These factors should be considered since box turtles are sensitive species.
They will not do well if they end up in an unfamiliar environment. It will be hard for them to leave their comfort zone. They cannot come up when they get released in the wild. It will be hard for them to survive. Releasing a pet box turtle, it’s like killing these creatures.
Even if the box turtles came from the wild and have been in captivity for a long time, it can be a problem. When the box turtles get used to the domestic environment, they can’t deal with nature anymore. It will be hard for them to adjust again to living in the wild.
What is the Impact of Box Turtles on the Environment?
Releasing a pet box turtle in the wild will have an impact on the environment. It’s not only bad for the box turtle but also nature. That’s why it’s not a good idea to release them in the wild. It can disrupt the balance of the ecosystem where it will be released.
Every wild environment needs to be able to sustain the number of species living in it. That’s usually just enough for the existing species. Adding a new one or multiple animals can destroy its balance.
Can a Pet Tortoise Survive in the Wild?
No, a pet tortoise is not going to survive in the wild. It will be hard for them to adapt to their new habitat. Tortoises that are related in the wild can catch a disease. They might also get attacked by predators. Pet tortoises can also starve or even freeze to death in the wild.
A new tortoise will cause an issue with the ecosystem if it survives. Not only will it be bad for the tortoise but also nature. Never release a pet tortoise in the wild. It can end up badly for them and also the other animals living in that area.
What are the Effects When a Pet Tortoise Was Released in the Wild?
- Pet tortoises can spread disease and make wild animals sick as well.
- The tortoise may catch a disease that it doesn’t have before.
- The chance of being eaten by a predator will be high.
- It doesn’t have the ability to forage food and it can starve to death.
- Tortoises may freeze or overheat since they can’t adapt to the weather.
- The tortoise may die from dehydration caused by lack of proper humidity.
- They can affect the ecosystem negatively.
- Pet tortoises may have bad genes that can affect the local tortoise population.
- Releasing tortoises in the wild may be illegal depending on the place.
How to Get Rid of a Pet Turtle Properly?
A pet turtle may be a burden for some people over time. If their owners don’t have enough time or money, it can be an issue to keep them. Whatever your reason may be, don’t resort to releasing the turtle in the wild. It will be inhumane to do that since the turtle can easily die if released into the wild.
1. Sell It
If you can no longer take care of your pet turtle, sell it instead. You can place an ad online and find someone to take care of it instead. You can sell the turtle equipment as well to ensure that the new owner will have the proper habitat for the turtle. Or give away the turtle so that someone can take care of it.
2. Local Zoo
Some zoos are willing to accept animals. If you can’t take care of it anymore, check your local zoo. They have experts caring for every kind of animal. Your turtle will be safe with them. It’s also possible to visit the turtle whenever you want to see it.
3. Ask for a Vet’s Advice
You can always ask a vet about the options available. The vet may know a place where you can bring the turtle. They might be willing to take it out of your hands as well. If not, they can at least provide helpful information on how to get rid of the turtle.
4. Check Organizations
Look for organizations that can take care of turtles. Although they are more focused on wild turtles. It’s still better to try to ask for their advice. That way, you can find a place where they accept turtles. If they accept the turtle, problem solved.
5. Pet Shop
Finally, you can go to the pet shop where you bought the turtle. They might not take it back and issue you a refund. But at least they can give you advice. They might also help you to find someone willing to take care of the turtle. But whatever happens, don’t release it to the wild and some people may be able to help.