Turtle- domestic vs wild.

Question: If you see a turtle crossing the road, what do you do? 

                                                                             Answer: Move him to the other side unless it is a domestic turtle. Two common turtles found in Manitoba are the Painted Turtle and the Common Snapping Turtle.  The Painted turtle does resemble the domestic version of a Red-slider turtle that you can buy at a local petstore. Every summer, some irresponsible pet owners decide that their  domestic turtle is either too big for the aquarium or too much work and  releases it into a man-made lakes or creeks.  Red-slider turtles are native to Louisiana and cannot survive our harsh winters.  If you see a turtle crossing the street, always check to see if it is a wild or domestic turtle. One destinguishing feature to identify wild painted turtles and domestic turtles is by looking under the belly.  If the shell has black and yellow coloring, its a domestic turtle. If the shell has red/pinks,oranges, yellows, and black, its a painted turtle.  This picture is of a Painted Turtle. Snapping turtles have don’t usually have bright colors, very aggressive, and has a spikey ridge at the base of the shell near the tail.  Don’t handle Snapping turtles with bare hands and usually without proper equipment.  Snapping turtles can take off a finger.  If you find a domestic turtle and not prepared to keep it, most pet stores or animal shelters would be interested in taking it in.   If the turtle shell has been injured, please contain in a box or pail and contact PWRC.

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  1. michael roberge

    Hey,I was hoping you could help me with my painted turtle. I have kept it in captivity for 2-3 maybe 4 years and I realize I am not the best care taker. So I am going to do 1 of 2 things. 1-care for it properly,
    2-help it get back to its home.
    I do need some guidance, suggestions on witch to pick and proper steps to follow .Thus this this e-mail.

    1. pwildlife

      Hi there,

      There may be a problem with releasing it back into the wild. Depending on if its care has been “proper” meaning if it got proper UV lights and diet and is in perfect health. Has it been to a vet to check its health? Common illnesses seen in captive turtles is Metabolic Bone Disease due to lack of calcium and vitamin D. Does it recognize its natural diet? It needs to be able to eat live food before it could be released. Second, do you know where it was originally found? Many wild turtles have bacteria and microbes from a specific pond so if you relocate to a different pond you could potentially kill other turtles or this turtle from the different bacteria. Lastly, if the painted turtle was found in the wild, it is technically illegal for you to keep it. If it came from a pet store, then those turtles cannot be released as they don’t have the proper bacteria. After reading and investigating my questions and you need a facility to take it, please let us know as we may be able to help with that if you’re located in Manitoba. If you need more info, please contact us or calling 204-510-1855. Thanks Lisa

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