Many people are not in a position to foster or adopt an animal, but would still like to help. A great way to do this is to sponsor a turtle with Central MS Turtle Rescue! Our rescue relies on the generous support of of people like you.
Central MS Turtle Rescue provides all the needed medical care for the turtles in our rescue, as well as food, enclosures, UVB lights, heat, substrate, hides, etc. Reptiles heal slowly and, depending on the time of year, they cannot be released to the wild until weather conditions are favorable enough to ensure they will survive. The price tag to care for a turtle in our rescue adds up quickly.
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and all donations are tax-deductible. Sponsoring a turtle is a great way to get involved when you are unable to foster or adopt. For other ways to help, please check out our How You Can Help page.
Your sponsorship donation helps to cover the food, enclosure, and medical costs for the turtle you choose. We have 4 levels of sponsorship available for you to choose from.
Bronze level sponsorship ($15) will designate you as an official sponsor of that turtle. Your name will be added under that turtle's picture as a sponsor of its care through June 2018 or until that turtle is released/rehomed, whichever comes first.
Silver level sponsorship ($20) will receive a Certificate of Sponsorship, a picture of the turtle you chose to sponsor, and your name will be added under that turtle's picture as a sponsor of its care through June 2018 or until that turtle is released/rehomed, whichever comes first.
Gold level sponsorship ($30) will receive one of our key-chains in addition to the items included in the bronze and silver levels.
Platinum level sponsorship ($50) will receive all of the items above, and will also be entered into a drawing for a Joshua Peterson print and other prizes to be announced. Drawing will take place on December 30, 2018. *Sponsoring multiple times or multiple turtles at the Platinum level increases your chances of winning!
If you wish to purchase a sponsorship as a Christmas gift for someone, please do so prior to December 16, 2018. This allows us enough time to put together the sponsorship package and mail it out to you before the holiday rush that might cause delays in shipping.
** PLEASE NOTE ** we will ship the Certificate and picture to the address included with your PayPal payment. If you would like the package mailed to a different address or different name ... PLEASE make sure you indicate that in the area provided with the 'add to cart' button. If there is an address added, we will mail the sponsorship gifts to that name and address for you. If you wish to mail or give the items as a gift yourself, just give us a name but no address. We will then mail the package to the address given to us by PayPal. Thank You!
Turtles You Can Sponsor
Pearl River Map Turtle Hatchlings Back in May, our friends and alligator snapping turtle researchers - Luke and Gabbie - were on a river in south Mississippi on their boat, when they pulled up next to a bank. They didn't realize that on that bank was a mother Pearl River Map Turtle (Graptemys pearlensis) digging a nest. The sound of the boat scared her, and she jumped into the water, abandoning her nest. Luke and Gabbie carefully removed the eggs she had not had a chance to bury, and brought them to us. Two months later, all four eggs hatched, and we are now the proud caretakers of these adorable little hatchlings. The hatchlings - named Lewis, Clark, Magellan, and Zorro - will be cared for over winter, which will give them a chance to grow a little larger before being released next spring.
Fun fact: The Pearl River Map Turtle is only found in one place in the entire world...right in our back yard in the Pearl River.
Olive is a female three toed box turtle from the Hernando area that came into our care in May 2018 after having been hit by a lawnmower. The blades "scalped" her shell, leaving behind a nasty open wound perilously close to the spine. Thankfully there was no spinal damage, and her wounds have been healing at an incredible rate. Our hope was to release her this fall, but to make sure her injury is completely healed and hardened, we've decided to hang onto her until spring, to give her the very best chance of survival.
Cooper is a hatchling gulf coast diamondback terrapin. He was found in a saltwater pool skimmer, just after chemicals had been added. He suffered some eye irritation, but is healing well. We'll hang onto Cooper until next summer to put some size on him before release.
Ginger is a feisty female Gulf Coast Box Turtle who was found in August 2018 after having been painted red. Painting turtles is quite dangerous for them for many reasons.
Paint can be toxic, and because a turtle's shell is a living part of the their bodies, these toxins can leech into their bloodstream and make them very sick.
Painting them takes away their natural camouflage, leaving them more vulnerable to predators.
Paint covers up the part of their bodies that they use (sort of like solar panels) to soak up critical vitamins from the sun. A lack of these vitamins can lead to metabolic bone disease and even death.
Ginger is well on her way to being paint-free, and we hope to release her before fall this year.
Bree is a hatchling eastern box turtle that hatched in our care in August 2018.
Bree's story starts with her mom - Rhea. Rhea was hit by a car in Golden, MS on June 2, 2018. Xrays revealed she was carrying four eggs inside her. (She was likely on her way to lay her eggs when she crossed the road and was hit by the car.) Despite doing everything within our power to save Rhea, we soon realized that the injuries she sustained caused trauma to her brain. Her movements were more reflexive than intentional, she could not eat or drink, and she had not emptied her bowel or bladder since her injury. Ultimately, we decided the most humane thing to do for her was to have her euthanized.
She was first sedated and then euthanized with medication. We then rushed her home from the vet so that we could extract her eggs before the euthanasia medication could permeate the shells and kill the embryos. Two months later, Bree hatched. One egg was not viable, one hatchling died in the egg before hatching, and we're still waiting on the last egg to hatch.
Rhea was a beautiful female eastern box turtle. Mississippi is fortunate to have three separate subspecies of box turtle native here - the eastern (Terrapene carolina carolina), the three toed (Terrapene carolina triunguis), and the gulf coast (Terrapene carolina major). The gulf coasts are found in the southern part of the state - as their name suggests, along the coastal areas. Three toeds are native to the central and northern parts of the state. Easterns are only found at the very northern tip of Mississippi, predominantly in the far northeast corner of the state. Eastern box turtle populations are in decline, and since Mississippi has so few of them left, each life saved is a win for their species. While we could not save Rhea, we know that Bree will carry on her legacy.
Davis was found in Edwards after having been hit by either a bush-hog or a large mower in September 2018. The blades shattered his shell, severed one front arm, and severely lacerated the other front arm. His wounds have been stitched, his shell has been stabilized, and he's being kept comfortable with pain medication. He has a long road to recovery in front of him and will be in rehab until at least next summer.
Beatrice is a female gulf coast box turtle who entered our care in August 2018 after having been found painted almost entirely blue. Even the top of her head has blue paint on it. We can tell this paint has been on there a while, as you can see spots on her back where the paint has been rubbed off during mating.
The paint used is some sort of oil-based house paint, and is proving very difficult to remove. It will take multiple sessions over a long period of time to see Beatrice paint-free.
Scrappy, Janis, and Kurt were confiscated during a raid by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, along with another turtle - Jimmy. Scrappyis a male river cooter, who certainly got the worst of injuries from the over-crowded and dirty tank. The injuries you see on his plastron (bottom shell) are called shell rot. This likely started as a small scratch, probably from one of the other turtles. In the foul water, that scratch quickly became infected. The infection spread into the bone of the plastron in several places, and is now literally eating the bone away.
In addition to the shell rot, he also suffered a nipped tail (bitten off by a tank mate) and a severe bite wound to the underside of his neck. This wound is also infected. It will take Scrappy a very long time to recover from these injuries. And he isn't out of the woods where infection is concerned. Shell rot can be very difficult to treat and eradicate. He will be on antibiotics and wound treatment for many months.
The other turtles found with Scrappy - Jimmy, Janis and Kurt- are in much better shape, physically. One turtle, Jimmy, has already found a forever home. Scrappy, Janis, and Kurt will be offered for adoption. If you're interested in adopting any of the confiscated turtles, please head over to our Adoptions page. Help give these turtles the life they deserve.
Thumper is a juvenile common snapping turtle that was attacked by a dog and came into our care in August 2018. Dogs don't mean any harm to turtles, but turtles often find themselves as unwitting chew toys. Sadly, this often ends in fatal injuries to the turtle. In this turtle's case, the dog not only chewed on him, but was also seen jumping up and down on him before his owners could get the turtle away from him. Thumper suffered severe damage to his shell from the chewing, and a broken rib from the pouncing. He underwent surgery to remove the piece of rib that had pierced his lung, and is now undergoing a lengthy rehab to heal his wounds and prevent infection. He will likely be with us until next summer.
Poe is a male Gulf Coast Box Turtle who was hit by a car in May of this year. He suffered a severe injury to his shell on his left side. The injury was so bad and irreparable, he had to undergo surgery to remove the broken pieces of shell from that area.
The pictures you see to the left are two months post-surgery, and his healing has been nothing short of remarkable. His eventual release is still questionable at this time, and it's likely that he'll be with us for months or even years until that determination can be made. But he is a true fighter and a true survivor!
Sponsored by: Amanda Hibley
Spike is a juvenile gopher tortoise who was hit by a car in May of this year. Spike is healing well, eating well, and should heal fine. Unfortunately, Spike also has "yellow spot" which is a condition in gopher tortoises that indicates a diet deficient in vitamins and calcium. We have him/her on a diet rich in nutrients and hope to reverse the "yellow spot", but this could take several months. So, Spike will be with us for a while. But with that face...we're not complaining a bit!
RC Cola is a female River Cooter who was found trying to drag herself across a roadway. The motorist who stopped to help her quickly discovered that she was missing both of her back legs. We're not exactly sure how she came to lose her legs, but suspect it was a predator. She will now live in captivity, in a controlled environment, where she can swim and lay her eggs without having to drag her lower body around or risk crossing any roads.
Pappy is a male Gulf Coast Box Turtle lose both outer eyelids and sight in his right eye, probably due to complications from being cold-stunned. We suspect Pappy came up from hibernation too early this year, and when a sudden cold snap dropped the temperatures back below freezing, Pappy was caught in the cold. Cold-stunning can easily damage the delicate tissues of the eyes, which can then become inflamed or infected. By the time Pappy got to us, the damage was too severe to reverse. He lost both his outer eyelids to the infection, as well as the sight in his right eye. Pappy is currently available for adoption, as well as being available here to sponsor!
Spectra is a Gulf Coast Box Turtle that was sprayed with an industrial adhesive resin called Spectrashield. Through quick action by the company that supplies this product, the individuals who did this were swiftly identified and dealt with. The process of trying to remove this product (a product designed to be permanent) was originally thought to be long and daunting, if possible at all. Thankfully when he was sprayed, a few areas were coated quite thickly. We were able to pierce these thick areas and began peeling the material off. In a very short time, most of the product had been removed. A little light dremeling removed the rest of it. His health was monitored for a short while, and he was able to be released back in his home neighborhood.
Spectra's treatment and care was made possible by his sponsors, Christine Morrison, Samantha Sugg, and Debra Logan. Thank you, ladies!
Sponsored By: Mary Brown
Flora is an adult female Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) who came to us on March 10, 2018. Flora was spotted struggling in a homeowner's pond. The pond had frozen over this winter, and it's believed that Flora is suffering from being cold-stunned. Her eyes are damaged and she has a respiratory infection. She has a long road to recovery, and we're unsure if she'll regain her vision.
Sponsored By: Tara Bonee
Lurch is an adult male Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), who entered our care on March 9, 2018. Lurch was found in a business parking lot in Starkville, MS after having been run over by a car. We believe his wounds only involve his shell, and he should heal fine and be released later this year.
Sponsored By: Dr. Pat Hidalgo
Russ is an adult male Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) who came to us on February 28, 2018, after being hit by a car.
Russ healed and was able to finally be released on September 1, 2018. His treatment and care was made possible by his rescuer and sponsor, Dr. Pat Hidalgo. Thank you, Dr. Hidalgo!
Mack is a adult male Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), who entered our care on February 21, 2018 after being hit by a car. Once we examined Mack, we noticed that he had obviously once been someone's pet (as evidenced by the pyramiding of his shell and his immediate acceptance of commercial turtle food.) He likely escaped, or was released, and ended up on a dangerous roadway. He is healing well, and will be offered for adoption later this year.
Sponsored By: Nate Steege
Scrub is a large male alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii), who came into our care at the end of January after his owner passed away. Scrub has an exciting forever home lined up, but won't be able to move there until late 2018 or early 2019. He'll remain in our facility until his new home is ready. (Big announcement on that later!)
Jagger is a juvenile Gulf Coast Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina major) who entered our care on January 27, 2018. Jagger came to us from Wild at Heart Rescue. Jagger was attacked by a predator, leaving him scarred and without the use of one eye. When/if he's healthy again, he will be placed for adoption.
Sponsored By: Pam Gigac
Scooter is an adult male Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) who entered our care in 2012. Scooter was captured as a hatchling by a child who kept him under his bed in a pizza box for 7 years. His carapace deformity is the result of being kept in that improper enclosure, being fed an incorrect diet, and because Scooter was chronically deprived of proper light, temperature and humidity.
Scooter is an Educational Ambassador who exemplifies the harm of attempting to make a wild animal a pet. Most people are not aware of the time and fiscal investment necessary to keep these animals healthy. Their life span is decades long, and we are committed to educating people who love turtles how to help this species and how to identify responsible resources, such as adopting a rescue, when people want to enjoy these magnificent creatures and have them as family members.
Bender is an adult male red eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) who entered our care on 10/03/17 from the Lucedale, MS area.
Bender’s story illustrates the critical nature of our educational efforts. A caring person saw Bender and thought it was odd he wasn’t relocating himself after a pond retaining wall was damaged, causing the pond to completely drain. The other animals had left to find a new hang out, but Bender seemingly would not budge. After 5 days of Bender staying put, the Good Samaritan contacted the Department of Wildlife who then contacted us.
Upon examination, it became evident Bender’s survival is a miracle! He had sustained injuries in the past which caused blindness. He had made it to the pond and healed as best he could on his own, but when the levee broke, he had nowhere to go.
Tomas is a juvenile (therefore, gender unknown) 3 toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) who entered our care on 10/02/17 from the Hattiesburg, MS area. Poor Tomas sustained a large gash on the right side of his carapace. When he arrived at our facility, he was playing host to some most unwelcome guests, both maggots and fly eggs. Tomas is healing well and is no longer sharing his shell with freeloaders! We are happy to report we will release him in the spring of 2018.
Sponsored By: Fern Fillingim and
Elvis is an adult male Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) who entered our care on 09/15/17. Like his name sake, Elvis hails from the Tupelo, MS area. We don’t know the cause of his injuries, but Elvis was certainly wandering down Lonely Street towards Heartbreak Hotel! The skin had sheared from his right rear leg requiring sutures and his tail and cloaca sustained lacerations.
Hey, don’t be “all shook up.” We plan to return The King to his home in the spring of 2018
Sponsored By: Kendall Harrison
The DBT Darlings/Dishwasher Turtles On September 8, 2017 we received a frantic call from an employee of a shelter located in West Memphis, Arkansas. A man who collects scrap metal had discovered a dishwasher behind an Asian restaurant that had been closed by the health department two weeks prior.
The man figured the dishwasher was fair game and attempted to load it into his truck. He then realized it was not empty! He opened it and found it was full of turtles. He contacted the shelter immediately. The shelter took the turtles in and after identifying them as Gulf Coast diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin pileata) the shelter then called CMTR for assistance.
Diamondback terrapins live in brackish (part fresh and part salt water) waters along coastal areas and marshes. This species is not native to AR. So, how did they get there? Harvesting. In some states, the commercial harvest of these amazing turtles is still legal. (Mississippi is NOT one of those states, but some of our neighboring states are.)
There were 19 turtles total, 2 were dead in the dishwasher and one died at the shelter. The 16 others had respiratory infections & fungal infections. Five of the 16 arrived in critical condition and four passed away. The remaining 12 females have graduated to a large tank and are slowly regaining their health.
Sadly, they can never be released in the wild, and we will adopt them to educational facilities in the hopes that their story inspires people to respect wildlife and engender more awareness about their species.
Hank is an adult male, 3 toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis). Hank entered our care on 09/03/17 after being hit by a car in the Oxford, MS area. The impact left his carapace completely shattered. We hopes to release Hank in the spring of 2018
Sponsored By: Aaron Fowler
Cliff is an adult male common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) who entered our care on 08/29/17 from the Water Valley, MS area.
Cliff found his forever home on August 29, 2018. He is now part of a turtle educational program in New Hampshire! His treatment and care was made possible by his sponsor, Aaron Fowler. Thank you, Aaron!
Sponsored By: Sandy Fortenberry & Elizabeth Valenzuela
Brooke is a juvenile female Sulcata tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata) who entered our care on 07/11/17 from Brookhaven, MS. Brooke had been hit by a car and suffered severe damage to her carapace and suspected nerve damage to her rear legs.
Brooke is a non-native species of tortoise, so she was most likely someone’s pet who escaped or was released. People often don’t realize that teeny, tiny hatchlings can top the scales at 200+ pounds!! Sulcatas are the third largest species of tortoise in the world.
Brooke will undergo extended long term rehab with us due to lingering, and possibly permanent, nerve damage.
Sponsored By: Karen Jacome
Stumpy is an adult female Alabama red bellied cooter (Pseudemys alabamensis) who entered our care on 07/08/17 after being hit by a car.
Stumpy healed and was able to finally be released on August 18, 2018. Her treatment and care was made possible by her sponsor, Karen Jacome. Thank you, Karen!
Sponsored By: Wendy & Jim Schroeder
Cosmo is a hatchling river cooter (Pseudemys concinna). He's one of Shelby’s hatchlings and was born with one eye. We know he can see at least light and movement out of his right eye, but we are unsure he has enough vision to survive in the wild.
We are considering adoption applications for Cosmo. However, since we will not know his gender for years, he requires a home who has the capability of providing him with an appropriately sized tank as he grows and an enclosed, predator-proof pond if he is indeed a she!
Sponsored By: Amanda Hibley
Stuckey is a juvenile 3 toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) who entered our care on 05/27/17. Because she is a juvenile, her gender is unknown. Stuckey arrived from Petal, MS after being found in the middle of the road. She seemed unable to move her front legs.
Stuckey had no visible signs of injury, but had a nose bleed. She appears to have some type of neurological deficit. She has a permanent head tilt. She will not be able to be released.
Sponsored By: Vince Valenzuela
Oy is a hatcling 3 toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) who entered our care on 04/03/17. Because he is a juvenile, his gender is unknown. Oy is a Florence, MS local who was attacked by a bird causing plastron damage. Oy is healing well and we are delighted to report he will have a new “release” on life in the spring of 2018.
Inglis is an adult male Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) who entered our care when his former owner thought Inglis was ill and asked us to take him. Inglis should be well enough by spring to begin seeking a forever home.
Stan is a juvenile West African Brown Mud Turtle (Pelusios castaneus) who entered our care on 11/29/17. Both Stan and Rufus were to be sold as pets at a local pet store, when the store manager noticed they were sick. These turtles are not native to Mississippi, and therefore cannot be released here. Once healed of their illnesses, they will be placed for adoption.
Rufus is a juvenile African Helmeted Turtle (Pelomedusa subrufa) who entered our care with Stan on 11/29/17. Both Stan and Rufus were to be sold as pets at a local pet store, when the store manager noticed they were sick. These turtles are not native to Mississippi, and therefore cannot be released here. Once healed of their illnesses, they will be placed for adoption.