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International Turtle and Tortoise Week celebrations underway leading up to Earth Day

Posted at 8:26 PM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-23 11:19:04-04

NEENAH, Wis. (NBC 26) — Earth Day is April 22nd. This year, the week leading up to it is International Turtle and Tortoise Week.

J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue is one of the few places in the state of Wisconsin where these creatures can be found for adoption or turned in for rescue. So, this is a big week for the shop.

John Moyles is the shop's director. He said there's a quick way to distinguish turtles and tortoises.

"Tortoises live on land, turtles live in the water. That's the easiest way to do it. Otherwise… they have different adaptations, like in their feet and their shells that allow them to live better, either on the land or in the water," said Moyles.

He also said turtles are in need of rescue, all around the world.

"Out of the 360 turtle and tortoise species, over 180 of them are threatened and 127 of those are critically endangered or endangered. So it's super important that we take care of our native turtle and tortoise species," Moyles said.

According to Moyles, some of the biggest threats to turtles are pollution, overconsumption, invasive species, habitat degradation, and pet trading. The threats caused by pet trading are why Moyles said it's important to adopt, not shop.

J&R takes turtle rescue seriously.

"There's a big need for turtle rescue, and it can be overwhelming for a lot of the smaller rescues, so that's where we're so happy to step in and help out," Moyles said.

But it also knows how to let you have fun along the way.

"You can feed our turtles. We have like a little — you know, like a candy machine with turn food in it. So you put a quarter in it and turn the dial, and food comes out," Moyle said.

So, what's important to know for anyone interested in investing in this aquatic pet?

"The key to keeping turtles healthy and happy is big tanks. The more water you have, the cleaner it stays. So, if you have the right equipment — the right size aquarium or tank with the right filtration and lighting — they're super easy," Moyles said.

Anyone interested in turtle adoption can visit J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue or visit the organization's website.