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Post Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:51 pm   Hello! Question - is she wild or no?

Hello! New to the turtle world here - my herpetology class set some turtle traps in Michigan and we caught a RES. They aren't quite native, but they are "naturalized" in many areas. She's 6 inches, definitely female, and I am trying to figure out if she should stay in the wild or if she was possibly a dumped pet.

She doesn't seem beat up, like no nicks in her shell, she is eating turtle pellets, but she panics every time she sees me walk by the tank. I can pick her up and she tucks into her shell and just hangs out, but she definitely opens her mouth when she sees my fingers near her face. No active snapping, but I haven't been dumb enough to poke her in a place she can reach me.

I am trying to absorb as much info as I can, but it seems everything on YouTube, etc is baby turtles - how the heck do adult turtles act? Is it normal for pet turtles to be so shy and open their mouths when being picked up? Is it possible she was actually born in the wild and she should go back where we found her? I want to do right by her, any thoughts are much appreciated..
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:45 am   Re: Hello! Question - is she wild or no?

It sounds like she's wild. RES in the wild usually have great looking shells. Was where she was caught capable is supporting them through the winter?
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:53 am   Re: Hello! Question - is she wild or no?

She was in an area with tons of Painted and Spiny Softshell, so I would assume it is adequate to support her through the winter. Per my readings, RES are native up into Indiana, which have winters as bad as ours. It's tough because I don't want to put a pet back outside, but I also don't want to be kidnapping someone that was born out there, even if they aren't technically native.
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:14 pm   Re: Hello! Question - is she wild or no?

Not being native does not mean she cannot survive or even thrive. Are there any safe areas where she can be relocated to?
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:32 pm   Re: Hello! Question - is she wild or no?

I agree. If she grew up with those survival skills, I'm sure she'd be fine. And yes, there are places she can go to be safely relocated to.

Since RES seem to be often dumped, what would you look for to identify a pet vs wild?
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:02 pm   Re: Hello! Question - is she wild or no?

Some of the behavior traits you mentioned are important. RES are more gregarious than other turtles, so one that is timid around people is more likely to be wild. WIld RES also look healthier, with fewer shell deformities and shedding issues. There are always exceptions, but those are what I would look for.
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:32 pm   Re: Hello! Question - is she wild or no?

Thank you very much!!
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:52 pm   Re: Hello! Question - is she wild or no?

Glad to help!
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