Rehoming one of my wood turtles

Mar 25, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
***Disclaimer: I understand the community has strong opinions on all things tort/turt. I fully respect subjective and objective views. I am not easily offended and welcome all perspectives in agreement or variance of my own. Thank you!

Rehoming of 1

I decided to rehome Gator after witnessing aggressive behavior towards Panda. I had set up a large, enclosed play (pen) area for them to roam, climb, explore and exercise after their morning feeding. Things were going well until one day I noticed them huddled in a corner. Out of curiosity I walked over and saw Gator viciously snap at and bite Panda on his front foot twice. I immediately separated them. Personally, I’m not a martyr or a fixer. Its not my style to ‘wait and see’ or ‘try this and that’. Once I know unequivocally what I’m dealing with, I handle it logically and swiftly. The day of the attack I placed an ad on Craigslist and within the hour received an inquiry from a lady about 30 minutes away who serendipitously ran a small animal sanctuary and she uses the same exotic vet I recently signed up with. A few hours later we spoke on the phone and I told her that even though I had paid $270 for both turtles, I was rehoming him for free with the stipulation that his new home would come equipped with everything he needed because at the time their tank was divided in half and they were sharing heat/light sources. She sent me the link to the sanctuary Facebook page and we agreed to meet up the next day. True to form, Gator’s extroverted personality was on full display day of drop off and she remarked that he would be a good turtle to use during educational segments for children. Everything happens for a reason and I drove away knowing Gator was in a good environment, he would be the only rooster in the hen house and ultimately a star turtle in his own educational series. The next day I was sent pics and videos to show how well Gator was settling in. I know my quick decision may seem cold but sound decisions can only be made in the absence of emotions. Realistically, I couldn’t see myself creating two separate play areas, carving out space for two separate 1:1 bonding time or going outside together but keeping them apart. To me the outlook of doing that was stressful and that’s the antithesis of having pets.


During my ignorant haze, I mistook Gator’s incessant desire to be around Panda as a sign they liked each other and got along. I thought climbing over each other was like giving hugs. I did take the advice to start separate feedings and looking back at a video I took of their second day with me, I now see Gator’s behavior as territorial. Gator climbed inside the food dish and hoarded over his piece of salmon while Panda tentatively took bites all while side eyeing Gator. During the early days when they shared a pool Gator swam all around like a swan while Panda stayed hovered in a corner and silly me thought it was because he liked the bubbles from the aerator! Eventually when I put them in the pool Panda would quickly climb out and burrow in defeat and Gator would stay in swimming all about. I didn’t realize how ignorant I was until I started researching turtle pairs and mortified to learn they shouldn’t be kept in pairs. I started reading horror stories about attacks and deaths. The lady who took Gator had just come back from the vet because one of her RES needed care after being attacked by another. She said turtle 1 bit down on turtle 2 leg and flung him against the side of the tank poor turtle needed sutures!

Seller Integrity

During my research stage I was initially considering getting a tortoise because I knew I didn’t want an aquatic turtle. No offense to tort owners but I decided on my wood turtle because I wanted a species consistently described as hardy, personable, and smart. I also knew I wanted 2 baby turtles. I found a local breeder of red foots and not one time during our communication did he ever mention the risk of pairs or suggest how to house them. He just wanted the sale. Even the place I purchased my wood turtles never mentioned the risk of pairs and even advertised the size enclosure needed for housing multiples. I have no interest in breeding so if my safest option is to have a quantity of ‘some’ turtles or one turtle, I take one. If either the red foot breeder or business owner had said anything at all about aggressive tendencies of keeping pairs, I would have only purchased one.

Mother of (1) Turtle

Panda my sweet introvert is doing well. He has a nice varied diet and now loves shrimp. I see different aspects of his personality each day and I love the moments when he doesn’t shrink his head back when I reach over his him or make sudden movements. All is well, he’s super spoiled and now my biggest challenge is keeping him alive lol

Pics- screen shot of them eating on day two of their arrival. Panda’s new renovated home. Panda sleeping in the open! Panda relaxing in the grass growing in his enclosure during a misting. Panda swimming. Panda after the attack, you can see the skin damage on his foot.


  • Panda.jpg
    281 KB · Views: 28
  • Panda2.jpg
    890.3 KB · Views: 24
  • Panda3.jpg
    2 MB · Views: 25
  • Panda5.jpg
    511.4 KB · Views: 26
  • PandaEnclosure.jpg
    1.6 MB · Views: 28
  • Screenshot_20210422-134154_Gallery.jpg
    203.1 KB · Views: 29

New Posts