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 Transporting Turtles
  Posted: Nov 15 2011, 12:53 PM


Group: Full Members
Posts: 3
Member No.: 2,667
Joined: 9-April 08


I am looking for advice from anyone who has either done this previously, or knows what to do! I am moving my two Eastern Painted Turtles with me to another state. I will be driving for at least 20 hours by car. Does anyone have any experience safely moving turtles? I am also bringing 3 fish, so I was going to use a similar set up with a styrofoam container lined with a plastic bag and sealed tight with an air tube/stone for the fish. I am afraid to transport the turtles the same way though - they need to see the sun(or the fake lightbulb sun, anyway)! We will be stopping nightly at hotels, so I can let them bask then if that is their only chance. I am just trying to make this as easy for my babies as possible!
I appreciate any ideas!!!!

Posted: Nov 15 2011, 01:28 PM


Group: Admin
Posts: 9,942
Member No.: 1
Joined: 1-September 03

I have never transported animals long distances.

Turtles are air breathers. They should not be in a sealed container. I suggest putting them in a tub with a lid that has lots of holes in it. You can put in just a little bit of water to keep them moist and hydrated, maybe an inch or two is all that you need. If you soak them in some warm water at least once a day for hydration, you could even transport them in a cat carrier. Think of all the poor turtles that are shipped. They send them in 100% darkness with no moisture. Some don't make it, mostly from temperature extremes (which you need to avoid) and suffocation.

While turtles do need warmth and light in order to survive and eat, they can do without all of those things for a day or two. Don't feed them the day before you leave so they won't make a lot of waste while being moved. Turtles can go for weeks without eating so they will be a bit mad but it won't harm them. It would be good for them to have access to light but not 100% required for just a day.

For the fish, also fast them the day before to reduce their ammonia output on the journey. You can seal them in a large bag with 1/3 water and 2/3 oxygen (from a gas canister; a pet store can do that). Or, you can have them in a bucket with a battery-driven air pump and a lid that prevents jumping and splashing but allows for gas exchange. You can get such air pumps at many pet stores and bait shops. Add some AmQuel to the water to help with the ammonia build up.

Good luck!

Robyn, Analytical Chemist, Zone 6/7, Maryland
Servant to 4 cats, 2 rabbits, 4 guinea pigs, 2 mice, 1 redbellied turtle, 3 freshwater aquariums (65, 50, & 20 gallons), 2 saltwater aquariums (6 and 12 gallon nano cube reefs), 7 outdoor ponds (1800, 153, 50, 30, 20, 20, & 12 gallons), 1 indoor pond (20 or 50 gallons, winter only), crickets, mealworms, and hundreds of fish (of about 18+ species), amphibians, snails, shrimp, corals, crabs, worms, and so on in those aquariums and ponds. A mostly full list of my current animals is at

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