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Turtles & Tortoises

Turtles & Tortoises

Turte-ly Awesome Facts

Freshwater turtles help control aquatic vegetation, which keeps rivers and lakes in healthy condition.

While tortoises have adapted to live only on land, turtles have adapted to living mostly in water! Therefore, turtles have thinner shells and webbed feet to help them swim through water while tortoises have more “domed” shaped shells and thicker legs to help them travel on land.

Tortoises shape their habitats by grazing on plants, dispersing plant seeds, and trampling areas of vegetation.

Challenges in the Wild

Litter pollution: Thousands of turtles die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris.

Illegal pet trade: Millions of reptiles are illegally collected and sold as pets across the world.

Dallas Zoo Saving Turtles & Tortoises

The Dallas Zoo supports these amazing conservation organizations:

Turtle Survival Alliance: The Dallas Zoo is partnered with the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA). The TSA works to help save species of turtles that are at a higher risk of extinction and have made the commitment to zero turtle extinctions in the 21st century. In 2018, the Dallas Zoo assisted with one of the largest wildlife trafficking crises in Madagascar where 18,000 radiated tortoises were rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed to AZA-accredited facilities.
Sea Turtle Inc.: The Dallas Zoo also partners with Sea Turtle Inc. based in South Padre Island. Every summer, they patrol beaches looking for nests and protect the eggs by incubating them. Once the eggs hatch, they release them back into the Gulf of Mexico. Each summer, the Dallas Zoo hosts a beach clean-up around the nesting site to protect hatchlings from becoming entangled.
In addition to our partnerships, the Dallas Zoo is committed to picking up 24,000 lbs (12 tons) of litter pollution from wildlife habitat this year to help turtles here in Dallas and down at the coast.

You Can Help Save Turtles & Tortoises in the Wild

Thousands of turtles die each year from eating plastic pollution in our waterways! Turtles often mistake plastics and other garbage as food and eat it, resulting in plastic getting stuck in their digestive systems and ultimately resulting in their death. By committing to picking up ten pieces of litter on Tuesdays, you are helping to keep trash out of our waterways and out of the stomachs of turtles. In addition, millions of reptiles each year are illegally collected and sold worldwide as pets. By ensuring that your reptile pet is captive bred, you are helping to put an end to the illegal wildlife trade network. Take the pledge and save turtles & tortoises!

Buy a Dallas Zoo membership to help save turtles & tortoises in the wild.

Help end the illegal wildlife trade by making sure your pet reptiles are bred within human care and not sourced from the wild.

Pick up ten pieces of litter pollution each Tuesday to keep it out of turtle and tortoise habitats.