© Turtle Island 2023

Frequently asked questions

I have found a turtle. What should I do?

If you find a turtle, it is very important that you check on the Internet first what species it is, because the immediate care and further procedure depend on it. If you’re not sure about your findings, feel free to send us pictures (via email) and we can identify the species for you. As all tortoises are protected species and findings are therefore subject to registration with the authorities, please inform your closest BH (Bezirkshauptmannschaft) and ask for further instructions. Please keep in mind, that especially some invasive species (like ornamental tortoises) must not be transferred, sold or bred under any circumstances.  

I would like to drop off a turtle. Can I bring it to Turtle Island?

Yes. We are an official shelter for freshwater and land turtles of all species. Turtles in general are protected species and therefore it must be reported to authorities: in Austria findings should be reported to the closest BH, respectively in Graz there is a precise magistrate for veterinary issues. This means, that we can only accept turtles after a precise allocation by authorities and after you have made an appointment through our website. We really appreciate your support and contribution to help us care for surrendered turtles. 

What are invasive species?

Invasive species (such as the red-eared or yellow-bellied slider turtle) are animal and plant species that are not native to the location where they occur and pose a harmful competition to native species. They have been introduced into the system by human activity and therefore releasing them into the wild can negatively affect naturally occurring ecosystems and harm the biodiversity.

I have no place to keep my tortoise for the winter. Can I leave it at Turtle Island during the cold months? How much would this cost?

Yes, Turtle Island offers the opportunity to bringing your tortoise in for a species-appropriate hibernation. During this time, the animals are regularly checked and monitored so that you can receive them back safe and sound in spring. To make sure we give your turtle the exact care it needs, it will be thoroughly clinically examined, also with a fecal examination. The cost for hibernation is € 30 per month, plus € 50 for the preliminary examination. If you are interested in this service, please contact us early (about 5 weeks before) so we can plan everything beforehand.

I have a European tortoise. What should I consider in keeping and food?

This is a very broad question, but the main points are:

  • They prefer outdoor keeping, but UV-lamps are required if they are kept indoors.

  • They need a dry, wind-protected and sunny location with shade (plants), weatherproof shelter and a sturdy, high fence (be careful, they love to climb!).

  • Daily feeding is necessary, they love wild herbs (dandelions etc.) or organic lettuces (e.g. endive, radish, voger lettuce). Keep in mind to occasionally offer some cuttlebone for calcium. But please no fruits!

  • Before the temperatures go below 0 degrees in autumn, prepare to hibernate the tortoise, either in a cellar or refrigerator. For more information please click here.

Can I buy a turtle at Turtle Island?

Basically, we are a conservation breeding station and specialize in breeding rare species of turtles. The offspring are returned to their countries of origin or placed in other zoos and zoological institutions. In some cases, we also give offspring to private interested parties. Species threatened with extinction, however, are without exception given to other species conservation projects.

Is it possible to visit Turtle Island?

Even though our institution is a scientific zoo, it is mainly a renowned conservation breeding station for turtles. We open our doors to the public on a few, selected days a year. If you are interested in a guided tour, please send us an email and we will inform you about the possibilities.

I am a journalist and would like to report on Turtle Island. Who can I contact?

Please visit our page for press inquiries.

How can I support Turtle Island?

Thanks for being interested in supporting Turtle Island! We are happy about any kind of support you can give. You can see all of the possibilities, including volunteering, donations, or sponsorships on this page.  

What happens with my financial support?

Monetary and other donations are used exclusively for the benefit of the turtles and the conservation breeding programs of Turtle Island. We are an Austrian certified association (register number: NT3539) and are subject to a strict annual audit. This guarantees complete transparency and gives supporters (both companies and private individuals) who are liable to pay taxes in Austria the possibility to deduct donations to Turtle Island from their taxes according to § 4a Abs. 2 Z. 3 EstG.

I am liable to pay tax in the USA. Is the donation also tax-deductible there?

Yes, Turtle Island is a "nonprofit" 501(c)3 tax-exempt organisation and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law (Tax ID number: 83-1706767).

Turtle Island
A project to conserve
the most threatened
vertebrate animals
on our planet
Turtle Island Newsletter
© Turtle Island 2023