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NC State’s Turtle Rescue Team is volunteer organization run by veterinary students at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.  Its primary purpose is to rescue and rehabilitate turtles in the Triangle area.

The Team provides medical, surgical and husbandry services free of charge in the hope of releasing rehabilitated turtles back into the wild. Currently, Turtle Rescue Team sees and treats over 500 wild turtles, and nonvenomous reptiles, and amphibians each year. With such a high caseload, veterinary students involved with Turtle Rescue Team have the opportunity to not only learn, develop, and refine their medical skills on “exotic” species, but they also have the chance to contribute to protecting North Carolina’s native wildlife.

More than 97% of the turtles they treat are native turtles with half of these being Eastern Box Turtles. 

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About 62% of the injuries
they find are from
vehicular trauma,
and almost 8%
from general trauma

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5% are from dog attacks.

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Overall, almost half of the turtles they see survive, and are eventually released back into the wild. And of those who survive the first day of treatment, two-thirds are eventually released back into the wild.

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The Turtle Rescue Team is also involved with various public outreach programs including Reptile and Amphibian Day at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, Tails and Scales at the North Carolina Aquarium, and Turtlefest at Bass Lake Park in Holly Springs.


Through educational outreach programs, they also hope to show North Carolinians the importance of conserving and protecting our native wildlife and ecosystem.

The Team treats a variety of turtle diseases and ailments including bone fractures, ear abscesses, fishhooks, shell injuries. and upper respiratory infections.  They can also treat snakes and amphibians as well. 

The NC State Turtle Rescue Team

Turtles that no longer need daily treatments but are still not ready for the wild, will be sent to rehab, where they will have progress checks
every 3-4 weeks until they are finally ready for release.

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It is interesting to learn that turtles, much like migratory birds, have an intuitive knowledge of what home is, and will cross rivers, woods, and roads trying to get back there.  • It is therefore essential that turtles be released back  to where they came from.

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The Turtle Rescue Team’s bustling center of reptile and amphibian healing has its headquarters in the NC State Veterinary Health and Wellness Center, courtesy of its generous supporters and volunteers.

You can learn more about its history and operations here

If you find a sick or injured turtle, please contact us, and leave a message via phone or email (options listed below.) Please note that it is illegal for us to treat or accept pet turtles due to our permit.  If you have a pet turtle that needs veterinary care, please contact the Exotic Animal Medicine Service at NC State.  Call: 919-397-9675   E-mail: turtle-rescue-team@ncsu.edu

Those that wish to support the mission of the Turtle Rescue Team may make a monetary donation to go toward the treatment of our wildlife patients. Because we run primarily on donations from our community to provide treatment and a safe, enriching environment to our patients, adopting a turtle can make all the difference for an animal in need.  If you are interested in making a donation, please go here

WEBSITE:  https://cvm.ncsu.edu/outreach/turtle-rescue-team/