Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society

Copyright Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society. All Rights Reserved.


[This information is excerpted from the full version of MATTS "Organization Info" available on the Pet Finder website.]

WARNING: Any reptile has the potential to carry Salmonella. Reptiles and other pets may carry and transmit germs (including Salmonella) to humans. It is important to wash your hands thoroughly after handling reptiles and other pets or coming in contact with their water, food, housing material, or container. Do not allow pet water, food, or housing material to come in contact with your food or areas where food is prepared. If you or any member of your family is prone to or has serious health problems or is pregnant or your family includes a child younger than 5 years old, it is suggested that you consult your physician before adoption. 


A FULLY COMPLETED ADOPTION APPLICATION is a requirement to be considered as an adopter. Applications can be mailed to you, either as an e-mail attachment, or through the US Postal Service.  Request an application via email (matts_adoptions AT hotmail.com).  Complete the application in full. A vet reference is required, even if your vet does not see turtles. If you do not have a vet, please explain the reason.

We DO adopt to first time turtle keepers. HOWEVER, we need to know that you understand the proper care for a turtle, and the long-term commitment that comes with a turtle or tortoise. Feel free to write or call if you have any questions about keeping a turtle, but do review other resources when making your decision.

*** PLEASE RESEARCH the needs of the turtle to see if a particular turtle is right for you before asking for an application. *** ​

Please research your state laws, regulations, and permits (if applicable) regarding turtles and tortoises, particularly box turtles.

If you're looking to add a turtle or tortoise in with another turtle, please include that in the application.


If you do not currently own a reptile, include a full description of how you intend to care for the animal in which you are interested. This includes the size of enclosure, types of food you will offer, substrate (for non-aquatics), what will be used for hide spots, types of lighting for indoor enclosures, fencing for outdoor enclosures, etc. Pictures of outdoor areas that will serve as the site of future enclosures will be helpful. NOTE: Sliders should go into outdoor ponds between mid-May and late-September to allow for acclimation before winter sets in.

An adoption contract comes with each turtle. Basically, you agree to care for a turtle or tortoise in a humane manner and maintain it in accordance with the laws and ordinances in the county and state in which you reside. You further agree that you will not sell, trade, release, or give away said animal in any way without the written permission of MATTS. If you cannot care for the animal for any reason, it may be returned to MATTS. MATTS reserves the right to approve the transfer of adopted turtles to another individual or organization - you don't have to return it to us if you can't keep it, but we'd like to know where it goes if you don't keep it.


Recommended websites and books are listed below. Turtles require more care than most people believe, and they are a long-term commitment. We have excellent resources on this site. In addition, many on-line forums such as www.turtleforum.com have caresheets and experienced keepers that will chat with newbies to help you find the right turtle.

Two excellent books for researching the care of turtles and tortoises are "The North American Box Turtles: A Natural History" by C. Kenneth Dodd, Jr. and "The Practical Encyclopedia of Keeping and Breeding Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles" by A.C. Highfield. Both are available at many book stores and Amazon.com.

 We need to know that you understand how to care long-term for a turtle or tortoise. This includes the correct size and type of housing, proper food, hiding spots, substrate, lighting, humidity, and water requirements. If you currently own turtles or reptiles, please include a picture of your set-up(s) including lighting, basking spots, hiding spots, and any pertinent information that proves you have proper enclosures. Pictures of outdoor enclosures should indicate that the enclosure is escape-proof and watering areas, hiding spots, and the like should be visible.


Once you've been approved, we'll let you know, so you can prepare an enclosure for the turtle, then send a picture of the completed enclosure before picking up the turtle or arranging for shipment.

​ Most of our foster homes are located in Maryland, USA., and the majority of turtles available for adoption are near Baltimore, with turtles occasionally for adoption in PA, VA, and DE.  

Shipping is possible during fall and spring months, but the needs of the turtle come first, and some turtles may not be considered for shipping. We WILL NOT SHIP BEFORE APRIL 1st OR AFTER October 30th, due to the health risks associated with cold-weather shipping for turtles and tortoises. Shipping for box turtles and aquatics typically runs between $25-65, depending on your zip code and the size of the turtle. It typicallys runs $25 to VA, $45 to NC, and $65 to CA. Sulcatas between 5lbs and 15lbs may cost up to $120 to ship, and sulcatas over 15lbs must be transported by the current owner or picked up in person by the adopter, or shipped via Delta Dash from airport to airport - Delta Dash shipments must be arranged between owner and adopter. UPS shipping is done "next day express" only, and ONLY shipped on Monday or Tuesdays.

.Dedicated to the conservation and care of turtles and tortoises.