It’s only fitting that we celebrate one of the world’s oldest creatures with its own designated day. That’s right, the sea turtles you can glimpse while catching the sunset in Port A, the box turtle you have as a pet, and the famous Galapagos Islands tortoises (who fittingly look like living fossils) have been around for a whopping 200 million years.
To honor and promote awareness on behalf of these wonderful animals, the American Tortoise Rescue founded World Turtle Day in 2000. The organization also gathered a bunch of helpful tips and advice on how YOU can do your part and help to save turtles and tortoises so that they can be around for another 200 million years!
- If you’re interested in obtaining a pet turtle, do your research on different species and their needs, then purchase the animal from a reputable store, breeder, or shelter. DO NOT TAKE A WILD TURTLE FOR A PET.
- Do not release a pet turtle into the wild if you find yourself unable or unwilling to care for it. Turtles kept as pets may not have the important nutrients they need to survive cold winters. In addition, pet turtles may not be native to your area and should not interbreed with wild turtles.
- Don’t remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they appear sick or injured.
- If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and take it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.
- Do your part to keep beaches and other natural turtle and tortoise habitats free and clean of trash.
Sadly, many of the turtle and tortoise species here at the Aquarium are considered by the IUCN as near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. These species include all of our sea turtles – green, Kemp’s ridley, hawksbill, loggerhead – as well as our Diamondback terrapin, Red-footed tortoise, ornate box turtle, and gopher tortoise.
Help us bring awareness to the plight of these incredible creatures by visiting the Aquarium to learn more about them, WEAR GREEN, and please consider donating to organizations like ours that are committed to conserving species!
Happy World Turtle Day!