Want to Adopt/Need a Rescue?
Find a Turtle Vet
About the Tortoise Rescue
Tortoise Rescue Press Room
Special Events
Tortoise Rescue Videos and Photos
Turtle Rescue Advice & Care
Turtles in Danger
Turtle Newsletter Archive
Great Turtle Links
Meet Our Turtle Volunteers
Fun Turtle Stuff
Please Donate
Contact the turtle rescue

Rest in Peace, Berry, Rest in Peace

Every so often, an animal comes into American Tortoise Rescue that touches us in a way that is so different, so life changing, that we are doubly blessed to have had the experience.  That would be Berry, our tiny, deformed, spunky box turtle.  Berry came to us just under a year ago from California Turtle and Tortoise Club when it was decided that she needed hospice care, and we could best provide it.

This poor little creature had previously lived for years in a tank by herself with no sun and an improper diet.  She was misshapen, with long overgrown toenails and a beak that would not close properly.  Her lack of care and attention was a precursor to an early death.  But Berry had class and grace, and had no interest in being ready for hospice.  We had her nails trimmed and her beak aligned and she was beautiful again!

She joined the other turtles in our hospital who had suffered similar abuse:  Spinner, a paralyzed turtle who went in circles so she needs help eating; Sushi who lost her feet to mites when an owner didn’t notice; and Potato Chip, a five year old box turtle who is incredibly small and deformed – the size of a 50 cent piece.  Berry’s days were filled with sunshine, soaks, buddies and good food.  Boy, she loved her worms and chased them with exuberance. 

She recently underwent surgery on her leg with her same spunky demeanor and made an amazing recovery.  We bathed her twice a day and she hungrily ate worms and small bites of bananas.  Nurse YoYo, our cat, babysat her when she was recovering making sure I took care of her properly.  He was her devoted caretaker.  Until today. 

Sometime during the night, she passed over the rainbow bridge.  We don’t know why, but my guess is she was not able to metabolize the food that she was getting as she was the same size with little scrawny legs as a year ago at the time of her death. 

Berry, you brought joy and happiness to Marshall and me throughout the short time we were graced by your courage in spite of adversity.  You will be missed, and I cry again now as I write this tribute to one of the bravest little turtles that I ever met.  We will see each other again when we too pass over the rainbow bridge, and you will still be the beautiful creature we came to know.  Thank you for being in our lives.  Love, Susan and Marshall

You can make a tax deductible donation (TAX I.D. # 93-1219374) to the Berry Veterinary Fund in her memory by sending a check to Berry’s Fund, American Tortoise Rescue, 30745 PCH, #243, Malibu CA 90265.  All monies will go to rescue turtle and tortoise healthcare and vet care in Berry’s honor.  Bless you and thank you.


World Turtle Day 2014

World Turtle Day is coming May 23rd - this is our 14th year.  You can follow the action on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WorldTurtleDay and read about it below.  If you have ideas for fundraisers or cool photos, please email them to us at info@tortoise.com.  We will also be launching a WorldTurtleDay.org website soon. We look forward to celebrating this special day with you!    Love, Susan and Marshall
American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) (www.tortoise.com), a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, is sponsoring its 14th annual World Turtle Day on May 23rd.  The day was created as an observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.  Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, founders of ATR, advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles.  Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes.  ATR assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles. 

“We launched World Turtle Day to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures,” said Tellem. “These gentle animals have been around for 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of smuggling, the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming and the cruel pet trade,” says Tellem. “We are seeing smaller turtles coming into the rescue meaning that older adults are disappearing from the wild thanks to the pet trade, and the breeding stock is drastically reduced.  It is a very sad time for turtles and tortoises of the world.”  (See slide show here http://www.slideshare.net/tellem/where-have-all-the-turtles-gone.)

Tellem added, “We are thrilled to learn that organizations throughout the world now are observing World Turtle Day, including those in Pakistan, Borneo, India, Australia, the UK and many other countries.”  

Tellem notes that biologists and other experts predict the disappearance of turtles and tortoises within the next 50 years.  She recommends that adults and children do a few small things that can help to save turtles and tortoises for the next generation:

·        Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.

·        Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured. 

·        If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again. 

·        Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to endangered sea turtle deaths.

·        Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter. 

·        Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches.  This is illegal to buy and sell them throughout the U.S.

“Our ultimate goal is to stop the illegal trade in turtles and tortoises around the world.  Our first priority here in the U.S. is to stop pet stores and reptile shows from selling hatchling tortoises and turtles without proper information for the buyer,” says Thompson.  “For example, many people buy sulcata tortoises as an impulse buy because they are so adorable.  The breeders and pet stores frequently do not tell the buyer that this tortoise can grow to 100 pounds or more and needs constant heat throughout the year since they do not hibernate.”

He added, “We also need to educate people who are unfamiliar with their proper care about the real risk of contracting salmonella from water turtles.  Schools and county fairs are no place for turtles. Wash your hands thoroughly every time you touch a turtle or its water, and do not bring turtles into homes where children are under the age of 12.”

For answers to questions and other information visit American Tortoise Rescue online at www.tortoise.com or send e-mail to info@tortoise.com; on Twitter @tortoiserescue; “Like” American Tortoise Rescue at www.Facebook.com/AmericanTortoiseRescue; and join World Turtle Day on www.Facebook.com/WorldTurtleDay.    

Suggested Tweet:   #DidYouKnow World Turtle Day is May 23rd? @TortoiseRescue #turtle #tortoise

Evil Knievel - Resident Troublemaker

American Tortoise Rescue

Welcome to American Tortoise Rescue from Popcorn the Sulcata

Check it out

Download Now! Click Here - Where Have All The Turtles Gone" A PowerPoint Presentation


This is Bunkle, the very first land turtle we rescued in 1990He is the boss of the turtle yard and is a total lady's man.  He is also the rescue's mascot.

Mission Statement


American Tortoise Rescue is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to the protection of turtles and tortoises throughout the world.  

Powered by Register.com