World Turtle Day

The purpose of World Turtle Day, May 23, is to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. The day was created to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, while encouraging human action to help them survive and thrive. With roughly half of all turtle species at risk of extinction, conservationists say now is a crucial time to stick out our necks for these animals.

World Turtle Day has been sponsored annually since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue, a nonprofit 501(c)(3)corporation founded in 1990. Turtle Day is celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from wearing green and dressing up as turtles, to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities. A few things that you can do to save turtles and tortoises for the next generation:

  • -Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.
  • -Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.
  • -If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going (if you try to make it go back, it will just turn right around again).
  • -Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles.
  • -Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
  • -Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches. This is illegal everywhere in the U.S.

“We also need to educate people who are unfamiliar with their proper care about the real risk of contracting salmonella from turtles. Schools and county fairs are no place for turtles. Wash your hands thoroughly every time you touch a turtle or its water, and do not bring live turtles into homes where children are under the age of 12.”

For answers to questions and other information, visit American Tortoise Rescue online at or send e-mail to; on Twitter @tortoiserescue; “Like” American Tortoise Rescue at; and join World Turtle Day on Facebook at World Turtle Day.

Did You Know…? A group of turtles is called a bale. Historically, turtles have been the symbols of patience and wisdom. Find more fun facts about turtles at KidsKonnect.

Get fun and interesting turtle and tortoise facts in an easy-to-read style from the San Diego Zoo’s Animal Bytes.

Find information about Sea Turtles at

Download and print a Desert Tortoise coloring page.

Do you have a pet turtle? Get answers to all of your questions about turtles and their care at

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