About Our Rescue Group...
Tortoises and box turtles can outlive their keeper’s ability to care for them. Too often they are found misunderstood, malnourished, deformed, or abandoned. Central Texas Tortoise Rescue’s mission is to adequately house, care for, rescue and rehabilitate land turtles who need a helping hand.
This rescue facility is operated out of my home. In 2015, we added a 400 sq ft outdoor enclosure that is lined by cinder blocks and underlain with fencing materials to keep torts from digging out. This enclosure is large enough to house several small tortoises (under 15 lbs). Larger animals roam a fenced in area of approximately 4200 sq ft. We also have several permanent enclosures that can be reconfigured to accommodate several individuals of smaller species.
How We Got Started
One of the questions we are most often asked is how we got into this to begin with. I have always had an abiding interest in herpetology, and I’ve kept pet tortoises for more than ten years. I studied the habits of aquatic turtles for my Master’s thesis in 2009, and my interest has been well known amongst friends and acquaintances. A few years ago, two friends independently referred someone to me to foster some box turtles. Soon after that, a colleague with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department asked if I could care for a young African spur-thigh tortoise (sulcata) that was found abandoned in a field.
I was quickly becoming “The Turtle Lady.”
The more questions I asked, the more apparent it became to me that there was a real need for more tortoise and box turtle rescue operations. Wildlife rehabilitators, rescues and zoos are overrun with tortoises, and prior to digging around a bit I had no idea. Having the passion, resources and desire to help led Ryan and I to open our doors and begin CTTR. Little did I know at the time how involved and personally invested the whole family would become in this little endeavor!
Can you accept aquatic turtles?
We are only able to accommodate land based turtles, that is: tortoises and box turtles. We do not have plans to add facilities for aquatic or semi-aquatic species at this time. If you’re not sure if you have an animal that lives on land or in the water, read more here.
Are you going to expand?
We have plans to construct additional fences/enclosures for our larger animals, but we need your help. This rescue facility is a labor of love, but it takes more than love to purchase materials, food, and veterinary care. We’re growing as fast as we can, but the demand for space and the number of animals that need help sometimes exceed the number of enclosures we have.
What’s in a name?
You’re probably here because you Googled “tortoise rescue” or “turtle rescue” or a similar term. We’re glad you came! Now that you’re here, you might be wondering just what it is we do. The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries defines a rescue center as “an establishment that takes in animals and cares for them temporarily, with the goal of placing them in permanent ownership or foster care with approved members of the public…”
That’s different than a sanctuary, which provides lifetime care for abused, neglected, injured or abandoned animals (although we have recently started offering sanctuary arrangements for those who wish their animal to stay with us).
Both a rescue and a sanctuary are different than a rehabilitation center, which takes in wildlife temporarily for the purpose of rehabilitating them so that they can be released back into the wild. CTTR does have a rehabilitation permit, which is only required for one species we accept – the Texas tortoise. Due to the potential for exposure to chytrid fungus, any Texas tortoise that enters captivity cannot be released into the wild.