Did you find a Turtle?
Water vs. Land Turtle: Identification
Turtles can be divided into two categories: Aquatic (water) Turtles and Land Turtles (tortoises). Land turtles have high, dome-shaped shells, while water turtles have a flatter, more streamlined shells for moving through water. See the pictures on this page to compare shell shapes.
Found Injured Turtles of Any Age or Species
If you have found an injured turtle, please follow the instructions under “Does the animal seem to be ill or injured?” on the previous page.
Found Land Turtles of Any Age
Most found land turtles are pets that have been released and will not survive in the wild on their own. If you find a land turtle, whether healthy or injured, call us at 713-468-8972.
Uninjured Adult Water Turtles Attempting to Cross a Road
If you have found an uninjured water turtle attempting to cross a road, move it off the road in the direction that the turtle is facing, as the turtle’s instinct is driving them to move in that direction. If you place it on the side it was coming from, it will only attempt to cross the road again. Do not attempt to assist a turtle if the road is busy or if you are in any danger from passing cars. We do not recommend handling snapping turtles as they are dangerous.
Found Baby Water Turtles
Baby water turtles found alone are completely independent and not in need of help. In the wild, turtles lay their eggs and leave, as babies are not in need of parental care. Release the turtle point of capture if found close to a natural body of water or take it to the nearest natural body of water for release.
General Information about Turtles in the Houston area
Turtles are reptiles, meaning they are "cold-blooded", air-breathing vertebrates. They have tough, leathery skin covering their body. The shell has two distinct parts: the carapace, or top, and the plastron, or underside. The scales covering the entirety of the shell are known as scutes. Texas has over 20 species of turtles. Some of the most common species TWRC sees each year are: Red-eared sliders, Three-toed Box Turtles, and Snapping Turtles.
Most female turtles in Texas can lay up to 3 clutches of eggs per year and the nesting season can last from March to August, causing the eggs to hatch from mid to late summer. Mother turtles lay their eggs and leave, as babies are completely independent at birth and not in need of parental care. Turtles are amazing creatures with long life spans. Some can live for 50 years or more.