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.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Jackie Wilson 

      12 months ago

      Our 6 year old Sulcata Tortoise, Leo, escaped our fenced yard on May 23rd. Today, June 23rd, we got him back! Social media was the trick. So many people were looking for him. His return became a community focus. We live in Mt Pleasant,SC in the subdivision Dunes West. He was located about 14 miles away on Daniel Island, SC. It was a miracle we got him back.

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      In miss my turtle so much it has been 3hours and reading that it could be 12miles is that it passed.the freeway already and it could be anywhere even dead because of the freeway she was everything to me I loved her so much

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      My tortoise is 11yrs old and a pretty hefty size, buying a new one is not possible, and we would all know the difference

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      We did not find it

    • profile image


      23 months ago

      Just need to say that this was very helpful. My husband and I lost my sons tortoise and the guilt is real. Odd accident. For me it helps that others have too, and the lighthearted facts about how they wont know they are home or away. Thank you

    • profile image


      23 months ago

      My turtle ran away and non of these reason can help

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      PLEASE HELP i lost my eastern box turtle last night and I have no clue where he is

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Wow thanks if I loose him but a new one thankyou this tortoise I lost is my best friend and I’m not gonna go and buy a new one yes what you say is nice but you are actually being kind rude

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • Whitney05 profile image


      10 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.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)