Ohio is losing many of their turtles because of people capturing them. Some people sell them while others release them back to the wild after they have had them for some time. It has been discovered that turtles released in a spot other than from the area they originated from, do not do well; they often try to make it back to where they came from and in the process get killed or die.

Division of Wildlife has strict laws pertaining to native Ohio turtles. For starters, they may not be held over 30 days. If they are, they are to be put down because they can pick up a disease in captivity and transmit it to other turtles.

Additionally, they have to be released in the same area that they came from. The reason being that turtles can appear to be healthy but carry a variety of diseases, and if released in a new area, those diseases can be transmitted to other turtles that possibly do not have that disease in that area. If a release is done other than where the turtle came from, written permission from the chief of the Division of Wildlife must first be acquired.


Dexter the Eastern Box Turtle

Meet Dexter

In January 2016, a game officer came to the facility and brought me an Eastern Box Turtle that was taken during a raid. The turtle had been in captivity for a few months and could not be released back into the wild, even if they knew where it came from. After holding on to it for a while and making sure he was healthy, I asked for consent to use this box turtle in educational programming. The good news is that my request was accepted and now DEXTER is one of our many educational animals.

The Eastern Box Turtle has a hinged shell that makes it possible for them to be able to pull legs, feet and head into the shell for protection. They are LAND TURTLES, not water turtles. Fact is, if you put a box turtle in deep water and it cannot get out, it will actually drown.

The Eastern Box Turtle can live 100 years, while Snapping Turtles can live 75 or more years.

I hope you get to meet Dexter in person one day soon at one of our many Private or Public Programs or Displays.


If you would like to see many of these animals up close, please consider booking one of our Wildlife Programs or Displays that are reasonably priced and perfect for Organizations | Schools | Churches | Campgrounds | Nursing Homes | Fundraisers | Displays at Events. All money generated from the programs & displays goes right back into the care of the wildlife.

For more information about our programs, visit our programs page.

Copyright 2017 Fran Kitchen

Operation Orphan Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization and does not receive federal funding.  We are supported entirely through private donations, memberships, and proceeds from our education programs. Click here to donate.