What to Do When Your Tortoise or Turtle Runs Away From Home

Updated on October 10, 2017

Ever lost a turtle? A wandering turtle can be very stressful on family life, especially if you have young children. It is a traumatic, unforgettable and devastating experience that could impact your kids for years to come. Should your turtle ever go a-wandering, this is what to do:

Run around your neighborhood. Try to get the whole family to do it, but don’t lose any of your family because they are more important than the turtle.

Realize how fast a turtle can travel. The average turtle can walk at 3-4 miles an hour, so if it’s been 3 hours since you last saw your turtle, he could be up to 12 miles away.

Chances are your turtle hasn’t gone very far, just to the nearest lettuce leaf.

Make friends with your neighbors. Many times it is your neighbors who will find the turtle taking a nice warm shower in their private pond so make friends with them and maybe they’ll return your turtle instead of making some delicious turtle soup.

Prior to losing your turtle make a mark on the turtle so you know how to identify him. If you find a wandering turtle you’ll want to know if it’s your turtle. Don’t use lead based paint to mark your turtle.

Check near water. Turtles like water so find the nearest pond and make sure your turtle isn’t nearby.

Keep a wheelbarrow handy for when you find the turtle. Turtles are very heavy to carry home.

Once the turtle is home, forgive him (or her, you never can tell). He will not know he’s home and will never be your best friend, if you want a best friend, get a dog.

If you want to treat your turtle because you are happy to see him again, feed him snails.

If your turtle is lost forever, just buy a new one. You won’t notice the difference and neither will your children.

If a live turtle is too stressful, consider a crystal turtle or a stuffed turtle. They are much less work and won’t run away.



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    • profile image

      Kiryu 6 years ago


    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      Great hub!

      I worked with someone who raised Sulcata tortoises. She gave a friend of hers on of her adults. Well, it got out of the yard one day, and they searched for ever for the tortoise. They searched all around the neighborhood. You wouldn't think a large tortoise would be hard to find, but they never found it. Well, a few days or a week or so later (I forget the time frame), someone came up to her at work (we worked at a pet store), and told her they found a large turtle and needed to know what to feed it. She asked what it looked like and about how large. She knew it was hers. They arranged to meet when she got off so she could pick up her 100+ pound tortoise and put it back in its rightful yard. The tortoise had traveled nearly across town from its original escape-point.

      I had someone on one of my hubs mention they found a Russian tortoise, but figured because no one in her neighborhood had reported a missed tortoise, they would just keep it. I tried to explain that tortoises can travel a good distance, even small tortoises.