Turtle Adoption Day, celebrated annually on November 27th, offers a poignant reminder of the rich heritage and delicate existence of one of Earth’s most ancient creatures. As the world hurtles forward in its modern pursuits, this special day beckons us to pause and appreciate the turtles, their centuries-long journey, and the urgent need to ensure their continued survival amidst the mounting challenges they face.

Turtle Adoption Day: Origins and Evolution

The inception of Turtle Adoption Day is intertwined with advocacy and passion for these marine marvels. Christine Shaw penned an inspiring article on the Found Animals website on November 15th, 2011. Highlighting the deteriorating conditions for turtles and emphasizing the need for conservation, Shaw’s article resonated with many. Spurred by her fervent call to arms, the first-ever Turtle Adoption Day was celebrated on November 27th that same year. Its message has since only grown stronger, with global communities marking this day annually, weaving together a tapestry of awareness, action, and admiration for turtles.

A Glimpse into the World of Turtles

Turtles, ancient and enigmatic creatures, have been inhabitants of Earth for more than 100 million years, predating many other species, including some dinosaurs. While they can be found in various habitats ranging from tropical and temperate seas to arid deserts, their presence has been a constant, symbolizing endurance and longevity.

Turtles come in various shapes and sizes; the largest, the Leatherback Sea Turtle, can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, while the smallest, the Speckled Padloper Tortoise, weighs in at a mere 5 ounces. Their diet varies greatly, from the herbivorous Green Sea Turtle feasting on sea grass and algae to the omnivorous Painted Turtle, which consumes aquatic vegetation, small fish, and insects.

However, the splendor of their existence is currently overshadowed by the threat of extinction. Activities such as habitat destruction, poaching, and climate change have critically endangered many turtle species, prompting global efforts for their conservation.

Why Celebrate Turtle Adoption Day?

  1. Legacy Preservation: Celebrating this day helps us ensure that these ancient creatures, which have survived for millions of years, continue to thrive and enrich our world.
  2. Promotion of Ethical Pet Ownership: It reminds potential pet owners of the commitment and responsibility of adopting turtles, emphasizing proper habitat setup and care.
  3. Highlighting Human Impact: It sheds light on the consequences of human actions on the environment, from plastic pollution affecting turtles to habitat loss from urban development.
  4. Promotion of Biodiversity: Turtles play significant roles in their ecosystems, from maintaining healthy seagrass beds to controlling jellyfish populations.
  5. Cultural and Economic Importance: In many cultures, turtles are revered and have become integral to local economies, especially in regions relying on ecotourism.

How to Celebrate Turtle Adoption Day?

  1. Adopt or Sponsor: Embrace the day’s ethos by adopting a turtle. If direct adoption isn’t viable, consider sponsoring one at a nearby rescue center.
  2. Host Beach Cleanups: Rally your community to remove litter from beaches, ensuring safer habitats for turtles.
  3. Share and Amplify: Employ social media platforms, utilizing the hashtag #TurtleAdoptionDay, to broadcast the message far and wide.
  4. Get Crafty: Organize or participate in crafting sessions, making turtle-themed items to raise awareness.
  5. Host Educational Sessions: Work with local schools or community centers to enlighten people about turtles and their importance.

Where to Adopt a Turtle

If you’re inspired to adopt a turtle and contribute to the preservation of these ancient creatures, there are several trustworthy platforms where you can find turtles in need of a forever home:

  1. Found Animals: Found Animals is an organization dedicated to saving pets and enriching lives. They offer an adoption finder tool that helps potential adopters connect with animals, including turtles, that are looking for a home.
  2. The Bearded Dragon: Though its name might suggest otherwise, The Bearded Dragon isn’t just about bearded dragons. They have a comprehensive list of reptile rescues across different states, providing an invaluable resource for those looking to adopt turtles and other reptiles.
  3. Petfinder: A renowned platform for pet adoption, Petfinder offers a wide variety of animals up for adoption, including turtles. Their user-friendly interface allows you to filter search results based on location, species, and more, ensuring that you can find the perfect turtle companion.

Before adopting, always ensure that you have the necessary environment and equipment to provide for the turtle’s needs, and be prepared for a long-term commitment. Remember, adopting a turtle or any other pet is a responsibility that extends beyond the initial excitement.

Fun Turtle Facts

  • Turtles have an impressive ability to adapt. For instance, the Australian Fitzroy River Turtle can breathe through its rear, allowing it to stay submerged for longer durations.1
  • Not all turtles can retract their heads into their shells. The sea turtles, for example, have a fixed neck and cannot pull their head inside.2
  • The gender of sea turtles is determined by sand temperature during incubation.3
  • Turtles have excellent navigation skills. Some species, like the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, can migrate thousands of miles across oceans and return to the very beach where they hatched.4
  • The Green Sea Turtle’s diet of sea grass and algae gives its cartilage and fat a unique green hue.5
  • The shells of turtles aren’t just passive protection. They have nerve endings, meaning turtles can feel touches, scratches, and pressure.6
  • Sea turtles have been around since the Age of Dinosaurs, with species like the Leatherback Sea Turtle remaining largely unchanged.7
  • Contrary to popular belief, turtles are not deaf. They have a keen sense of hearing, especially underwater, and can detect vibrations and low-frequency sounds.8


Turtle Adoption Day serves as a poignant reminder of the captivating world of turtles and our enduring responsibility to their preservation. As we reflect on the importance of these ancient creatures and the challenges they face, we recognize the pivotal role we play in their conservation. By adopting, sharing knowledge, and participating in protective measures, we contribute to a brighter future for turtles. As we mark this significant day every November 27th, let’s carry its essence throughout the year, championing the cause of these magnificent beings.


When is Turtle Adoption Day celebrated?

Turtle Adoption Day is commemorated on November 27 every year.

Who initiated Turtle Adoption Day?

Christine Shaw catalyzed its inception through an article advocating for turtle conservation in 2011.

Why is sand temperature crucial for sea turtles?

Sand temperature during incubation determines the gender of sea turtles, with warmer temperatures favoring females and cooler ones producing males.

What are the primary threats to turtles?

Turtles face threats like habitat destruction, poaching, plastic pollution, and the impacts of climate change.

How can I support turtle conservation?

Individuals can adopt or sponsor turtles, support conservation organizations, participate in beach cleanups, and reduce their use of single-use plastics.

Reviewed by HolidayToday Staff

Alex’s Take on Turtle Adoption Day

When I think about Turtle Adoption Day, a bittersweet memory from my childhood comes to mind. Back when I was in 7th or 8th grade, my father found a small turtle on the street and brought it home. I was thrilled, but honestly, we were clueless about how to take care of it or even what to feed it. We gave it cabbage and grass, made a makeshift enclosure, and occasionally let it roam around the house.

Those were days before the internet was at our fingertips, so finding relevant information wasn’t as easy. I sought advice from my biology teacher about the turtle’s diet and care. Oddly enough, she told me that turtles eat mosquitoes and that they didn’t require any special attention. Over time, our lack of knowledge became apparent as the turtle would often go into hibernation and, eventually, it never woke up. Years later, I learned that it might have needed warmth, and a simple heat lamp could have made all the difference. It’s a heavy regret I still carry.

As for the holiday itself, I’m wholeheartedly in favor of any initiative that promotes taking animals home. It’s an admirable act, but it’s also crucial to understand the responsibility that comes with it. There’s an earnest hope that anyone inspired to adopt on this special day does so with a genuine commitment, ensuring that the pet isn’t left to shelters later.

Turtle Adoption Day serves as a reminder not just about the joy these creatures bring but also about the importance of being well-informed. Whether you’re adopting a turtle or any pet for that matter, having the right knowledge and tools at your disposal can make a significant difference in their well-being. This day makes me reflect on my own experience and reinforces my belief in the importance of being a responsible and informed pet owner.

  1. https://www.greeningaustralia.org.au/protecting-the-bum-breathing-turtles-of-the-fitzroy-river/ []
  2. https://oliveridleyproject.org/ufaqs/can-sea-turtles-retract-their-heads []
  3. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/temperature-dependent.html []
  4. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/loggerhead-turtle []
  5. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/10-tremendous-turtle-facts []
  6. https://oliveridleyproject.org/ufaqs/can-sea-turtles-feel-it-when-you-touch-their-shell []
  7. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/oceans/wildlife-facts/sea-turtle/ []
  8. https://animals.mom.com/turtles-sensitive-hearing-10537.html []

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