I found an injured ornate in the middle of a road last October. I took him to the vets for treatment of his shell, got him antibiotics and nursed him back to health over the winter. He appears to have recovered well, eats from my hand and has good mobility. I'm not sure of his age.
Now that it's Spring, is it best to release him or keep him? I've gotten attached to him, but I want to do the right thing.
I found an injured ornate in the middle of a road last October. I took him to the vets for ... best to release him or keep him? I've gotten attached to him, but I want to do the right thing.[/nq]If you have any other reptiles then it's best to not release him back into the wild, because he could have picked up something from the other reptiles that you are not aware of and by releasing him, you could end up spreading this new disease into the wild population. When my organization does rescues, we won't keep the animal for more than absolutely necessary, and if we can't release it right away for any reason, (like yours) we won't release it back to the wild.

Besides the risk of spreading unknown diseases, the turtle might not know where it is and be lost. The more they find out about reptiles, the more they know that any that live around 20 years or more (as a species) tend to rely on situational memories and where food can be found, where shelter from the hottest part of the day can be found and various other things necessary for their survival. I would say that if it is legal in your state to keep a native reptile, then keep it.

If it is not legal to keep the turtle, then release it near where it was found or turn it into the local Game & Fish office.If it is a non-native, then do NOT release it anywhere, keep it for a pet.

Talk to you later,
Katsnake.
Thanks for the reply.
The turtle is native to this state. We do have other reptiles that are kept in seperate tanks.
The snakes and lizards we have are healthy, but your point is well taken.
The reptile vet we took the turtle to last October recomended that we kept the turtle through the winter. The vet's reasoning was that it was getting cold, the turtle was probably crosssing the road looking for a place to hibernate and the weather was about to get much colder, plus we needed time for the turtle's puncture wound to heal.

My concern now is that the turtle appears to have gotten used to being handled and handfed. I don't feel comfortable to let him go where I found him because he might get hit by a car again. I was thinking of an area out in the sticks somewhere, away from any traffic. However, as you stated, I sure don't want to abandon him if he can't readjust to the wild.
While still in his hide that he now uses as a shelter, I put him outside the other day (before it got cold again). Within minutes, he closed up the hinge on his shell! I havn't seen him do that since I found him injured on the road. Maybe this is natural for them to do when outdoors, but it concerned me.
Thanks again for the advice, and I'll take care of him unless I get more information that convinces me to release him.
Thanks again for the advice, and I'll take care of him unless I get more information that convinces me to release him.

I'm not a fan of releasing animals once you've taken them in. Like you said, there's a good chance he'll try to cross the road again if released where found, and if released somewhere else, he might wander aimlessly looking for his home territory, and cross many more roads.

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(Email Removed) > My concern now is that the turtle appears to have gotten used to being handled and handfed. I sure don't want to abandon him if he can't readjust to the wild.
If you ever had planned to release the turtle, then why were you handfeeding it?
No doubt you have traumatized the turtle as much or more than being run over by a car. Once again, a well-intentioned human has corrupted a wild creature.
This is a perfect example of why the Federation always commanded the members of the Star Fleet to engage in minimal interaction with primitive cultures. I hope you have not been teaching your turtles how to use weapons.
If you ever had planned to release the turtle, then why were you handfeeding it?

As explained to me by the herp-vet, he had some healing to do, and could not be re-released into the wild until Spring. If I didn't hand feed him, he wouldn't eat.
I followed the advice of the vet.
No doubt you have traumatized the turtle as much or more than being run over by a car. Once again, a well-intentioned human has corrupted a wild creature.

More than being run over? Sure, buddy.
This is a perfect example of why the Federation always commanded the members of the Star Fleet to engage in minimal interaction with primitive cultures. I hope you have not been teaching your turtles how to use weapons.

Please return to outer space.