You’re probably reading this because you lost your beloved turtle. It’s such a bummer. Take heart, though; it happens to the best of us. On the flip side, what if I told you there was not one but seven ways you could use to get back your lost turtle? Finding a lost turtle isn’t as complicated as you think.
In this post, I’ll expound on a couple of ways to get back your missing reptilian companion. What’s more, I’ll let you in on some plausible reasons why your turtle would’ve opted to get lost.
Be a lifesaver and share this post with anyone you know who has a similar problem. If it helps you, it’s bound to help others too!
Organize a Search Party
The moment your turtle goes missing, gather everyone in your home and request them to assist you in your search. If they’re not in a position to help, throw in a few dollars to get them to agree to it – just kidding. Holla at your friends and hold a search party around your home.
While you search, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- If you’re searching in a creepy area called the wilderness, beware of the wild animals and plants.
- Stay alert and mentally prepared at all times.
- Divide your friends into groups of at least four people. Spread them out all over your compound and surrounding areas to cover more ground.
- Get a map of the area you wish to cover for larger groups and divide it into grids.
- Be time conscious. Yes, your turtle means the world to you, but it wouldn’t be logical to endanger your lives searching after dark.
- Put together everything you need for a successful search. I’m talking maps, whistles, water and food/snacks, first aid kit, reflective clothing, and so on.
It’s worth mentioning that you and your crew should be careful enough not to squash the poor reptile by accident. Its shell color may blend so perfectly with the surrounding that it becomes difficult to spot it at first glance!
Search for Burrows
A burrow is a turtle hole. Since turtles are burrowing animals, they can dig many spots on the ground (as many as 35). In that case, you’ll need to keep an eye out for any visible signs of burrowing around your compound.
You should follow this step, especially if there’s a change in the weather. If it gets either colder or hotter, your turtle’s first instinct will be to start burrowing. If your terrarium doesn’t have just the correct soil depth for digging holes, don’t expect it to stick around much longer.
Therefore, the first places you should start looking at are around the edges of plants and rocks. These are the most preferred spots for burrowing. It only makes sense since turtles are introverted and opt for dark and hidden areas to shield themselves from unwanted guests or rough weather.
Lucky for you, turtle holes aren’t that hard to find. Their entrances are roughly the same size as their body and will have a somewhat artistic half-moon shape. If the caves you find have a broader or more circular shape, you’ve got the wrong hole.
When you find the right turtle, burrow, lure your turtle out with its favorite leaves. If you’re kind enough, you probably won’t mind leaving it there, maybe until the weather changes.
Look Around Your Home
If your turtle can’t burrow, expect to find it somewhere in your home. If they get lost indoors, your first spots to check should be under heavy stuff such as your refrigerator or sofa. If there are spaces around your home where your turtle can squeeze itself in, there’s a good chance that it’s there already.
Like every other living thing, turtles can’t do without food and water. So they can’t stay hidden forever. Put two and two together, and voila! Your turtle problem is a thing of the past. Allow me to go deeper into this point.
When luring your turtle out of their hiding spots with food and water, try placing inconvenient morsel spots – in places where they’re visible and smell-able.
Not to burst your bubble, but this method rarely works. Turtles aren’t that gullible like dogs (no offense to all my dog parents) or rodents. They may choose to fight their urges and stay put for as long as they like. I tried this with Chelsea, my turtle, and my efforts were futile. Not even its favorite veggies could lure it out of its hiding spot.
So, knowing this, your best option, in this case, would be to exhaust every inch of floor space in your home and confirm if it’s there or not.
Let Your Neighbours Know About It
I know you rarely let your neighbors in on your personal affairs, but make an exception for this one. When I say neighbors, I mean everyone in your block – not just the friendly next-door neighbors.
If you’ve always wanted to knock on your crush’s door, but you didn’t have anything useful to say, thank your lost turtle for giving you a reason to knock on their door!
In your efforts to find your turtle, ensure you give them specific descriptions that they would use to identify it. If there’s a scratch mark or any unique physical characteristic, remember it and name it. That way, if any turtle turns up anywhere around their home, you’ll be the first person they get in touch with.
Alerting your neighbors soon enough will also help keep them from mistaking it for a devious turtle that went astray. Their immediate reaction to its presence will be to take it to a nearby stream and let it swim free.
Your turtle might also find a new home if you choose to conceal the news of its disappearance. Most people fancy the idea of having a pet turtle.
Now, when one miraculously shows up in their yard, think they’ll put up a ‘lost and found turtle’ poster everywhere around your block? I strongly doubt it. Bottom line, speak up to find your lost turtle faster and avoid the worst.
Contact Animal Shelters, The Police, The Vet, etc.
No word from your neighbors? Don’t panic just yet. Your next option is to broaden your search by letting the vet, police, and animal shelter services in on the fun. For this one, you need a poster with a high-quality image of your turtle to help them identify it faster.
If you have shelters, zoos, and other animal-related businesses in your locale, look up their contact information and hit them up. Who knows? They might have come across your missing turtle and decided to take it under their wings. Attach the poster in your email (supposing you reached out digitally) or carry it with you in every shelter you visit.
I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t involving the police a bit of a stretch?” Well, no. No, it’s not. If I’m not wrong, your pet turtle holds a special place in your heart and your family as well. So there’s no doubt that you’ll do everything in your power to get it back ASAP.
Furthermore, the police will be of more significant help than you expected since they may do rounds and ask around for answers. Think of them as a helping hand in your search efforts. They’ll help you cover more ground and raise your chances of finding your turtle sooner.
Advertise In Your Local Paper or On Facebook
What’s a splendid way to reach people far and wide with the same news? Print and digital media. Again, for this part, you’ll need an HD photo of your turtle for easier identification. It would also help to attach a brief description of its unique features along with your contact details.
Do not (I repeat, DO NOT) offer any rewards to anyone who finds your turtle. I get it; you’re desperate to find your turtle. However, think of the repercussions of putting a price on your missing pet. Someone could steal a turtle and pass it off as yours.
What’s worse, some psycho somewhere might trace you and demand that you give them the money with or without the turtle. These are challenging times we’re living in. It sucks, but you’ll have to rely on people’s good side to get back your turtle.
Also, you’re not limited to Facebook alone. You can post your turtle’s image on other social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, etc.), but the problem is that you may not reach a more significant majority. Almost everyone today is on Facebook.
If you have many friends and followers on your account, you stand a better chance of reaching more people. Your friends will share your post and make it known to their friends.
Don’t Give Up
Not helpful, right? Wrong. Not giving up is probably the best way to ensure a successful reunion with your pet turtle. Daily action, positive visualizations, affirmations, and prayer are some of the best ingredients to keep you moving in your search efforts.
You may do all the above, but without hope, you don’t have that much-needed drive to keep you moving. People around you will discourage your efforts by encouraging you to get another replacement, if you will.
As stated earlier, if you love your turtle as much as you think you do, you won’t mind going the extra mile. I understand this more than anyone else. When Chelsea went missing, I felt like a part of me went with it. I wasn’t ready to let her go. I did a couple of the things I’ve shared with you on this post and stayed true to each one.
From my successful reunion, I know for a fact that you’ll find yours too.
Why Would Your Turtle Go Into Hiding?
Turtles don’t go awol out of spite. They’re uniquely designed to disappear at some point in their lives. Don’t blame yourself if you wake up one morning and find it outside its cage. If it happens, attribute their newfound spirit of exploration to the following reasons:
When winter approaches, your pet turtle will feel the need to hibernate. They will hole up in the case, especially when you don’t offer the best environment for proper hibernation.
Turtles start hibernating in different periods. During this time, their internal temperature and metabolic activity drop.
Red-eared sliders and other aquatic turtles will hibernate at the bottom of lakes and ponds. You can erase any chances of your prodigal turtle coming back home once they find their way to any of these places.
Believe it or not, even turtles get bored of being locked up in the same place for a long time, especially if there’s not much going on in the company or interactive features such as hideaways or safe plants.
If you don’t interact with your turtle often, it’s bound to become overwhelmed by loneliness and boredom. It won’t hesitate to satisfy its sense of belonging elsewhere.
For Safety and Comfort
How secure is your pet turtle’s enclosure? Very stable, you say. Well, here’s the thing: your definition of safe and comfy isn’t the same as that of a turtle or any animal for that matter.
Turtles often prefer a quiet habitat—a place where there’s minimal movement and minimal exposure. If your terrarium doesn’t have these two qualifications, brace yourself for an unexpected “now you see me, now you don’t” from your uncomfortable pet turtle.
This one’s rather obvious. Though it’s one of the slightest reasons to consider, turtles may opt to leave their nest searching for greener pastures.
Yes, you may think you’re feeding your turtle more than enough, but then, you might be doing it wrong. For your information, turtles are very picky creatures. They prefer certain types of veggies more than others.
When you neglect your turtle’s dietary needs, it’s bound to start foraging for greener pastures (quite literally) elsewhere.