Each year, California Turtle and Tortoise Club Adoption Committees rescue and place hundreds of abandoned, lost,
seized, injured or diseased turtles and tortoises that have been turned in by other humane organizations, members of
the public, local and federal government officers and veterinarians. These animals are treated, if sick, and are then
placed as quickly as possible into suitable homes.
Because adoption applicants are screened, and for other humane and legal reasons, ANIMALS ARE USUALLY PLACED ONLY IN REGIONS WITH CTTC CHAPTERS.
CTTC WILL NOT PLACE DESERT TORTOISES IN SITUATIONS WHERE CAPTIVE BREEDING MAY OCCUR. CTTC works with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to place desert tortoises. Both CDFW and CTTC discourage the captive breeding of desert tortoises.
Please Note: At this time, CTTC is unable to assist with out-of-state requests. Please contact your local rescue societies, reptile and turtle/tortoise rescues, animal shelters, etc. See “Other Turtles and Tortoises” for possible additional resources.
If you reside IN CALIFORNIA and have an animal that you need to place in a new home, or have questions about CTTC's Adoption Program, contact your local Chapter or the CTTC Adoption Committee.
The California Turtle and Tortoise Club's Executive Board compiles Chapter adoption statistics. These
statistics include how many and which species of turtle and tortoise were turned into CTTC, and how many were placed.
Quarterly and Annual Adoption Activity Reports are available on for 1998,
2002, 2003, 2004,
2005, 2006, 2007,2008, 2009, 2010, 2011,2012 and 2013.
If you are interesting in adopting a turtle or tortoise from CTTC you must complete and sign an Adoption Application Form. This form can be printed out and filled in manually or you can fill it in on your computer and print out the completed form for signing. The completed signed form must be mailed to your closest CTTC Chapter or brought to a Chapter meeting. The mailing Chapter addresses are listed on the back of the form and are given below.
Contact your closest CTTC Chapter for more specific information on adopting a tortoise or turtle in your area.
Under federal and state laws it is illegal to buy, sell, take or harm desert tortoises in California, or to move
them out of the State. By agreement with California Department of Fish and Game, designated members of California
Turtle & Tortoise Club serve as volunteer representatives for the Department for the relocation of desert tortoises
(including captive bred hatchlings) within California. This involves Adoption Committee members in each CTTC Chapter
responding to requests from State Fish and Game Officers, our own members, the general public, veterinarians and
humane organizations such as the ASPCA and local animal shelters, to provide pick-up services, veterinary care and
husbandry recommendations for desert tortoises. Every year, CTTC handles hundreds of desert tortoises and works to
provide the best homes available.
Members of California Turtle & Tortoise Club help to maintain the data base of captive desert tortoises, and
process and issue the permits and registration materials for California Department of Fish and Wildlife's
"Permit to Possess Gopherus Tortoises" program. The program was designed to allow
the legal possession of a protected species (i.e. the desert tortoise) which has a large captive population but is
endangered in the wild, and thus to discourage illegal taking and abandonment of wild tortoises. Having a legal
mechanism in which to operate is essential in the endeavor to prevent individual members of the public from returning
long term captive tortoises to the wild, a once common practice that is widely suspected to have been a major
contributing factor in the spread of the Upper Respiratory Tract Disease epidemic that has devastated the wild
population. CTTC Adoption Chairpersons require would be desert tortoise adoptees to complete the CDFG Permit
Application when they receive a tortoise so that all desert tortoises placed by CTTC are tagged. If you already
possess a desert tortoise and need a permit application, please e-mail your closest CTTC
Chapter. Permits have been issued for over 30,000 animals in California.
Other Turtles and Tortoises
California Turtle & Tortoise Club finds suitable homes for many other exotic and native turtle and tortoise species. CTTC policy is to provide veterinary care to any sick animals that are turned into the adoption program. CTTC collects funds for veterinary care for these animals from the membership with occasional contributions from the general public.
NOTE: We have recently received an overwhelming number of requests for assistance from out of state, especially for assistance with red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) and sulcata tortoises (Centrochelys sulcata). If you reside outside of California and/or your request for assistance involves these two species, please contact the following possible resources: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/ You will have to join, post the request for assistance, and then unsubscribe once completed.