My neighbors have a turtle in a container.

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The animal is continuously stretching its neck as if it wants to climb outside of the container.

I do not think the turtle should be kept in such a container.

What should be done?

  1. Contact an animal shelter?
  2. The animal is not my property. Should I mind my own business?


  1. I live on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. I am not sure if the animal is from this part of the world.
  2. Judging by the turtle's feet it seems to need to live in or near water.
  3. When I took the turtle out of the container it battled to walk.
  4. The owners said they adopted the turtle from someone who did not want the animal anymore.

Another picture

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2 Answers 2


Should you free this turtle?

Meaning one: let the turtle loose into nature

No! Pets should not ever be "freed" like this, for multiple reasons. For example, pets aren't able to find their own food properly and most times are not socialized enough with their kin to communicate with others of the same species. They would suffer from hunger and isolation. They would search for closeness with humans and maybe get hit by a car or something similar. A second, very important reason is the "invasion" of the nature by pets. Please have a look into this Wikipedia article for detailed information. Invasive species can destroy whole habitats, for example the Wikipedia article about Yellow Bellied Sliders states:

The release of non-native red-eared sliders into local environments caused the state of Florida to ban the sale of red-eared sliders in order to protect the native population of yellow-bellied sliders.

Meaning two: Help to improve the environment this turtle lives in

Yes, please! Turtles need a much bigger water area than this tub could provide. Also, there is a lack of some kind of island. Turtles need some dry place with direct sunlight (or a light bulb with UV rays) to dry off completely once per day and to produce some essential vitamins not provided by the food.

For a first aid enclosure I have written this answer. But for more detailed information about how to shape an enclosure for this kind of turtle, you should identify the breed of your turtle. Then you could have a search for "basking", "turtle tank" and similar phrases on pets.SE, and what you could not find, you could ask as new questions :) (Addition: I found this question about a general setup for turtles. It could be a start, but needs some improvement to match the needs of your breed.)

Some word about the behavior: Once the days become longer in spring and the temperatures rise, many turtles want to start some sort of wandering, to find partners to mate. This could explain (beside the small space) the behavior. But do not keep the turtle together with another one, until you are sure of the breed. Most aquatic turtles do not live together during the year. They would meet only for mating, and battle all other times.

Thank you for thinking about the welfare of this turtle :) I found mine (a middle American breed) in western Europe on a street in the mid of summer. This was now nearly 15 years ago, and I had some time to learn about these animals (for example, that they are able to climb mesh wire, and grow from the size of a coin to the size of a toilet seat...)

And as conclusion: talk with the owners. I made some experience, where the owner was very happy to get help with their animals. Sometimes, it's an animal left by a child of the family when starting to work or study in another region. Most people don't enjoy treating an animal with this lack of interest. It's simply too much effort to change the circumstances and they cannot provide this. So the first step ever should be to get in contact with the owners, and provide some help. Only if they are not willing to change the turtle's habitat or to move the turtle into more caring hands, then some rescue organization should be involved to force changes in the ownership. Surely one can ask shelters or rescues for information and experience about the handling any time :)

  • 2
    Looks good. I just fixed some grammar, but it contains all the information it should have.
    – Elmy
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 12:14
  • 1
    No problem. I understand very well what you mean, even if your grammar isn't perfect. And it reminds me of how hard it actually is to learn a foreign language. I use english every day for my work and am so fluent that I sometimes don't even notice the difference anymore, but it took many many years to get to this point.
    – Elmy
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 12:20
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    @Elmy since one year I use the English language to study and communicate in a foreign country (not an English speaking one) and I start to speak English with my family unintentionally already ^^ Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 12:23

Going along with what Allerleirauh said, Let me break it down to something more simple. Once you get something from the shelter (Invasive or not), They have already bonded with humans and releasing them will either destroy the environment or the enviroment will destroy them. The best option to do would to first confront your neighbor and discuss that a turtle needs more space but must not be released. If they dont comply, go ahead and call animal control and make a complaint. A small turtle like a musk turtle could be put in a regular fish aquarium. However bigger turtles might be able to use a small artificial pond with walls and a sand beach so the turtle can rest. Just make sure the water has an appropriate PH level or the turtle might get ill or die.

  • Only for clarification: Musk turtles are lazy swimmers, so they want to have some way to climb to the surface, not provided in a regular fish tank :) Commented May 4, 2021 at 12:22

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