Even for the most passionate keepers of these amazing animals, there may come a time when they are simply more than you can cope with. Either you bought them for your kids, who are now leaving home, or your circumstances are about to change and you simply can’t keep them anymore.
This is understandable, if sad, and it’s good to know that most owners deal with these situations responsibly. I regularly receive requests and enquiries about where you can take your pets under these circumstances, so I’ve compiled a list of resources and centres in the UK who may be able to help.
Terrapin rescue organisations in the UK
Before giving up on your terrapin, do consider if there’s anything else you can do! It may be you simply need a little more help to know how to care for them, in which case The Turtle Guide Book may tell you what you need to know. However, if you really have no alternative, then these organisations may be able to help:
Kent Turtle Sanctuary
The mission of the Kent Turtle Sanctuary is to rescue, rehabilitate, shelter and house any turtle that comes their way. They provide a loving home with proper care, plenty of food, spacious dry/aquatic habitat for happy living conditions for their remaining lives. Headed up by founder, Michael Butcher, they are based in Staplehurst in Kent and can be reached via their website https://theturtlesanctuary.co.uk. Michael requests that turtles needing rehoming please be delivered to their sanctuary.
The British Chelonia Group
The British Chelonia Group is an organisation to educate and inform owners of tortoises, turtles and terrapins while supporting rescue, research and conservation projects worldwide. Based in Tamworth, Staffordshire, they have a Rehoming Officer and do rehome tortoises to their members under strict controls. See http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/bcg-info/rehoming
Turtle Rescue UK
Found online at http://www.turtlerescueuk.co.uk, this non-profit organisation claims to be the largest in the UK to rescue and rehome our aquatic friends. Turtle Rescue UK runs two turtle and terrapin rehoming centres in Essex and Durham, funded by public donation and the sale of premium turtle and terrapin food. They also run a lively Facebook page and can also be found on Twitter and Instagram.
Set up as a sanctuary for unwanted Red Ear terrapins, this is a privately funded home-for-life for this terrapin breed. Terrapins taken in are not passed on.
Further details and contact information for this East Hampshire rescue centre can be found at http://www.users.waitrose.com/~terrapinrescue/TERRAPIN%20RESCUE%20-.htm
Advertising on the Preloved UK site, the Turtle/Tortoise Santuary is a private enterprise that rescues and provides homes for turtles and tortoises in Sandbach, Cheshire. Self Funded and welcoming donations, all the rescue animals are kept in specialist heated turtle enclosures and are free to roam in the warmer months.
Reptilia Reptile Rescue
Based in West Yorkshire, Reptilia Rescue Centre is a privately funded rescue and rehoming centre for reptiles. They also do a sterling job of educating reptile owners via workshops and impromptu advice. They can also be found and contacted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/reptilia.ossett
Rosina Animal Cenre
A rescue and rehoming centre for all types of animal, Rosina Animal Centre can and does rehome terrapins. Based in Sevenoaks, Kent, this animal centre ensures that any new owners sign a contract preventing them from selling or passing on any animal they take on.
Other sources of information
It’s worth noting that these are the rescue and rehoming centres that I have found. Your local animal rescue centres may be able to advise or take your animals, but because of the specialist needs of terrapins they may also refuse. If the more specialist centres are too far from your home, then here are some other sources of information that may help you in your search:
- The Tortoise Trust in London is a membership organisation that also runs an online forum where tortoise and turtle owners can post questions about the care of these animals. They may know of rescue organisations near you. Please note: email questions will not be answered so use the forum.
- The British Association of Tortoise Keepers is a registered charity and membership organisation that offers advice and support on keeping tortoises. Queries should be made via the online contact form.
- You may also wish to contact your local RSPCA, who may be able to offer you further advice.
Not just for saying goodbye
Of course, if you’re just getting interested in terrapins, or would like to expand your family with another of these wonderful animals, then a rescue terrapin may be a very rewarding as well as a compassionate choice. Consider contacting your nearest centre instead of a breeder to see if they have the right pet for you.