Where Can I Donate (Surrender) My Red Eared Slider Turtles?

When you get a pet turtle, you need to be prepared for a pretty long-term commitment, as they live plenty of years. A lot of people wrongly believe that turtles are super easy to take care of and that it’s as simple as having a little aquarium with some water, some sand, and a piece of lettuce. 

But the truth is, each species of turtle has specific requirements in order to live a happy and thriving life. It’s important to be aware of this beforehand, as it takes time and effort to look after a turtle, as it would any other animal. 

If you have a Red Eared Slider turtle, and you find that you are unable to take care of it any longer, then the best thing to do is donate and surrender it. Never abandon it or leave it out in the wild, as it will be likely to die. Instead, find a new home for it! 

But what exactly is a Red Eared Slider turtle, and how and where can you donate it? Let’s get into it. 

What is a Red Eared Slider Turtle? 

Before we get into the details of where and how to donate your Red Eared Slider turtle, it’s worth understanding exactly what type of turtle this is. 

The Red Eared Slider is also known as the Red Eared Terrapin, as the Slider turtle, or as the Water Slider. It is a semi aquatic species of turtle, belonging to the Emydidae family.

These turtles are originally native from the Southern part of the United States and Northern Mexico, but they have now spread worldwide. 

In the wild, it lives in ponds, and as a pet, it should live in aquariums with both water and land. It is one of the most invasive turtles in the world, which is why it is also one of the most common. 

In fact, it is the most popular pet turtle in the United States, and within the top around the rest of the world. Most people that have a pet turtle will have a Red Eared Slider. They’re small in size, easy to maintain, and very appealing to keep in your home with you. 

When to Donate (Surrender) Your Red Eared Slider Turtle:

Okay, so the Red Eared Slider turtle is the most popular pet turtle, and therefore the one most commonly found in people’s homes. But in what kind of scenario do you end up needing to donate it? When should you consider surrendering your pet turtle? 

A lot of people will impulsively buy a Red Eared Slider turtle, whether it’s at the fair, at a dollar store, or at a pet store. Truth is, they are so common that you can find one incredibly easy and for super cheap, which means a lot of people end up buying one almost for the sake of it, just to see how it goes.

Of course, they, later on, find out that the turtle does indeed need care, and that it requires your time and effort. 

Sometimes, the turtle was very much sought after and is in a loving home, but for a number of reasons it could turn out that the home becomes unsuitable, or that the owners can no longer provide the appropriate care. 

Basically, the turtle should be donated (surrendered) in any of the following scenarios:

  • The turtle is unwanted 
  • The home is unsuitable 
  • Not enough time to take care of the turtle
  • Not enough money to take care of the turtle properly
  • Not the right material or habitat space for the turtle
  • The owners are moving away, having a change in their lifestyle, or others which will affect the amount of effort and care they can put into the turtle

Of course, before you take that final decision to give your turtle away to a new home, think of whether there are any ways in which you can make it possible for it to stay with you so that the turtle doesn’t have to go through such a massive change! 

Where to Donate (Surrender) Your Red Eared Slider Turtle:

If you do ultimately decide that, for whatever reason, the turtle can no longer stay with you in your house, then you will have to donate/surrender it so that it goes to a new home. 

The first and most important rule of surrendering your turtle is that you cannot, under any circumstances, release it back into the wild.

First of all, that’s illegal in most places, because the Red Eared Slider is an incredibly invasive species and therefore it would end up taking over the ecosystem in that location, and native wildlife would suffer as a consequence. 

Second of all, because the turtle might die due to being used to living as a pet, it’s completely wrong to just abandon a house pet out in the wild! And third of all…why would you dump the turtle out in the wild when you can find a loving home? 

So, where do you properly donate the Red Eared Slider turtle? If you’re giving it up, then you have a few different options: 

  • Find a friend or family member that might want to adopt your turtle
  • Advertise your turtle online and spread the word. Someone might offer to take the turtle and care for it
  • Get in contact with pet stores and veterinary offices. They might be able to help rehome the turtle and find a new caring family
  • Look for an animal control agency or animal pet rescue center. They might be able to accept your turtle and care for it while a new home is found

If you absolutely cannot find anyone or anywhere willing to take your turtle in, and you’re truly out of options, then the last resort would be to put your turtle down as humanly as possible.

This is better than leaving them out in the wild. But this should be the last option to be considered, and usually it will not have to come to this.