We take in hundreds of turtles each year, some that are with us for many months or even years. Fosters of our healthy turtles awaiting release or adoption are critical because they help free up space at our facility for critically injured or ill turtles. We offer two different types of foster opportunities...
Also known as Category D on the Volunteer Application, these are the volunteers who can take one or more turtles and assist with rehabilitation until that turtle can be released or rehomed. Fosters are responsible for providing housing, enclosures, lights, etc. We will provide food and vet care. Prior turtle ownership is a plus, but we can provide "on the job training" for those with no prior experience with turtles. Fosters of native Mississippi species must either be included as sub-permittees on our Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit or hold one of the following Mississippi hunting licenses: Resident Sportsman's License, Resident All Game Hunting and Freshwater Fishing License, Small Game Hunting and Freshwater Fishing License, or a Non-Resident All Game Hunting License. (The Small Game Hunting/Freshwater Fishing License does not require Hunter Education and can be purchased for about $12 at Walmart, Hunting Goods Stores, or online at the MS Dept. of Wildlife's website.)
*Our Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit is renewed annually. If you do not have one of the hunting licenses mentioned above and don't wish to obtain one, your foster application will be held until we submit sub-permittee names to the MS Department of Wildlife in December and you will be able to foster for us during the following calendar year.
The form is electronic. If you prefer a paper form, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you one by email or hard copy by mail.
How should I house my foster turtle?
We have created guidelines for aquatic turtles and both adult and hatchling box turtles, which you can find below. For aquatic turtles, the habitat will depend on the individual turtle's species, size, and sex. So, if you're interested in fostering an aquatic turtle, shoot us an email at email@example.com, and we'll be happy to discuss fostering an aquatic turtle with you.
We regularly take in female turtles that lay eggs while in rehab. We also always check recently-deceased females and extract any eggs she might be carrying. These eggs are then incubated by us, and if all goes well, baby turtles are hatched in 2 to 3 months. The hatchlings then remain in care over winter and are released the following summer. In 2018, we began the hatchling turtle foster program for educators. For those educators interested in having educational turtles in their classrooms, but don’t have space or resources needed at home to care for a turtle year-round, this could be an excellent option. The educator will care for the hatchling(s) through the school year and return them when school wraps up next summer (or in some cases release the turtles themselves with their students!) This program is available to any and all educators, including public school educators, private school educators, college/university educators, as well as home-school educators.
If you are an educator and are interested in this program, please click the button below which will bring up a document with the full description of the program as well as our rules/guidelines. At the bottom of the document is the application for the program. Please complete and sign that application and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at Central MS Turtle Rescue, P.O. Box 1374, Florence, MS 39073. We will let you know as soon as possible if your application is approved. Approved applications will be granted foster turtles to care for on a first-come, first-served basis. Final approval and the transfer of turtles to you to foster will also depend on completion of attachments mentioned in the document.
*Please note that turtles *usually* start hatching in August/September. We make sure they are eating and appear to be healthy before transferring them into any foster home or school. If you are approved, we will get your foster hatchling to you just as soon as we can, but this means you may not have a foster turtle at the very beginning of the school year.
*You must have an Adobe Acrobat Reader app on your device to open and edit the application. If you still have problems downloading the application, please email us at the address above, and we can either email you an application or send you one by mail.