The New York Turtle and Tortoise Society

The New York Turtle and Tortoise Society, Inc., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the conser­vation, preservation of habitat, and the promotion of proper husbandry and captive propagation of turtles and tortoises. The Society emphasizes the education of its members and the public in all areas relevant to the appreciation of these unique animals. Donations to the Society are tax deductible and can be made online with your credit card by clicking the Donate button,
or by sending a check payable to NYTTS, to NYTTS Donations, 1214 W. Boston Post Road, Box 267, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.

Visit NYTTS on Facebook. Past NYTTS Events and News

Search this site:


The New York Turtle and Tortoise Society announces

Seminar 2018

Saturday, April 7, 2018
Check-in 9:30 a.m.; Sessions 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak
35 Alexander Street, Yonkers, New York 10701
Fee for the day, including buffet lunch, is $45. Students with ID, $20.

  Featured speakers will be:

Bonnie L. Raphael
Former Department Head for Wildlife Medicine, WCS/Bronx Zoo
     “Health Screening of Bog Turtles in the Northeast”
George L. Heinrich
Executive Director, Florida Turtle Conservation Trust
     “The Big Turtle Year: Celebrating Wild Turtles Across the United States”
Roger C. Wood
Former Director of Research at The Wetlands Institute, Cape May, New Jersey
     “Ecology & Conservation Status of the Mangrove Terrapin”

For more information and registration, go to Seminar 2018.

Field Technicians for Turtle Nesting Studies

Thomas Duchak (our speaker in February) announces two positions for field technicians to gather data on nesting wood, painted, and snapping turtles at multiple nearby sites in Northwest New Jersey. This is a seasonal contract position that will run for four weeks from 21 May to 17 June 2018.

On February 10, Tom presented his ongoing study entitled “Hatching Failure in a New Jersey Wood Turtle Population.” For more information on Tom’s work, go to NYTTS Meetings

To apply, download Field Technicians for Turtle Nesting Studies (PDF).

Pictured left: Tom Duchak speaking at the February 10 NYTTS meeting.
Photo by Bill Cermak

Diamondback Terrapin Working Group
Northeast Regional Meeting

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary,
291 State Highway, Route 6, South Wellfleet, MA
Saturday, May 5, 2018, 9 am–3 pm

Updates, Presentations, Posters, Field Trips

Please contact Barbara Brennessel: by April 15 if— you plan to attend, you would like to give a 5-minute update on your project(s), you would like to give a 15–20 minute PowerPoint presentation, you would like to present a poster, and/or you are interested in dorm-style (shared kitchen and baths) on-site housing. We are planning field trips to include dip-netting and PIT tagging late Saturday afternoon, and/or Sunday morning.

NYSDEC Adopts New Rules for the Protection of Diamond-backed Terrapins

On Friday, March 16, The Commissioner of NYS DEC signed off on The Certificate of Adoption of regulatory requirements for terrapin excluders in crab traps. See Good News for NY Terrapins by Carl LoBue, at

The New York State Department of Environmental Con­servation will require the use of terrapin excluder de­vices (TEDs) in crab traps set in nearshore harbors, creeks, and tributar­ies of the marine and coastal dis­trict. Use of TEDs in crab traps will prevent thou­sands of terrapins needlessly drowning in traps.

See the published regulations at the DEC. Thank you to those who commented on the proposed changes during the comment period between July 13 and September 20.

The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre
Watch this amazing work by Canadian colleagues in Peterborough, Ontario.

NYTTS Salutes Sara Ramos

“Turtle lovers” all are we, but no one loves her turtles more than Sara!

Long-time member of NYTTS, Sara has become popularly known in her Brooklyn neigh­borhood as “The Turtle Lady of Willamsburg.” That moniker is well deserved as some 60 turtles and tortoises fully dominate her small apartment.

She—and of course, her turtles—are featured in the recent Brooklyn Daily Eagle article entitled “The Turtle Lady Thrives in Williamsburg” by Ellyn Gaydos.

Saluting Our Own Lorri Cramer, Director of the NYTTS Turtle Rehab Program

When authorities find sick or illegally obtained turtles in New York City, Lorri Cramer is one of the first people they call. As a wildlife rehabilitator, Cramer nurses the little guys back to health until they are ready to be released in the wild. Over the past 30 years, she has taken care of thousands of turtles from her Manhattan apartment.

Honoring Peter Pritchard

The 14th Annual Symposium on the Conservation and Biology of Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles (New Orleans, 2016) honored Peter Pritchard for his life time accomplishments. Produced by the Turtles Conservancy.

Dr. Peter C.H. Pritchard from Turtle Conservancy on Vimeo.

The scientists paying tribute to Peter in this video, in order of their first appearance, are as follows:
  1. Russell Mittermeier, Conservation International
  2. Rick Hudson, Turtle Survival Alliance
  3. Eric Goode, Turtle Conservancy
  4. Craig Stanford, Co-Director, USC Jane Goodall Research Center
  5. John Iverson, author of A Revised Checklist with Distribution Maps of Turtles of the World
  6. Ross Kiester, Chief Program Officer for the Turtle Conservancy
  7. Bernard Devaux, Village des Tortues (Turtle Village), Gonfaron, France
  8. James Juvik, Turtle Conservancy’s Senior Conservation Scientist
  9. Roger Wood, former Director of Research at The Wetlands Institute and Professor of Biology, Stockton State College

Preserving Lonesome George
A short documentary from the American Museum of Natural History

Lonesome George at the Museum of Natural History

Nearly four years have passed since the death of Lonesome George on June 24, 2012. Since then he was sent to the American Museum of Natural His­tory to be preserved for generations to see and appreciate the magnificent animal he was.

The video features many who NYTTS members may know, among them Darrel Frost and Chris Raxworthy (former and current Curators of the Department of Herpetology), James Gibbs (speaker at the 2003 NYTTS Annual Seminar), Eleanor Sterling (Center for Biodiversity and Conserva­tion at the Museum), and Linda Cayot (author of a paper from at the 1993 Pur­chase Conference and in the Proceedings: Conservation, Restoration, and Management of Tortoises and Turtles — An International Conference, published by NYTTS in 1997.

Legendary Turtle Dies in Vietnam
by Rick Hudson on January 19, 2016, Turtle Survival Alliance

The Turtle Survival Alliance has confirmed that one of the world’s four known remaining Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtles (Rafetus swinhoei), has died in Vietnam. This turtle—believed to be a male—was highly revered in Vietnam and was a long-time occupant of Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of downtown Hanoi. Sightings of the turtle attracted large crowds, as well as visitors from around the world.

This turtle made global news back in 2011 when health concerns prompted officials to capture the turtle for medical treatment and mount a massive cleanup effort for the polluted lake.

The death of this Rafetus reduces the known number of living animals to three: one in a protected lake in Vietnam and a pair at the Suzhou Zoo in China. Since 2008, this pair has been the subject of intensive efforts to encourage them to reproduce in captivity as a last ditch effort to save the species, currently recognized as the most endangered turtle in the world.

In Memoriam ~ Yaqui Guthrie Yamdrok
November 12, 1932–August 25, 2015

Yaqui Yamdrok (née Sally Guthrie) died on August 25. She was a long-time member of NYTTS, and many will remember her from meetings. After the death of her own turtle, Mullan–her compan­ion for almost 50 years(!), she spent many hours at the Wild Bird Fund caring for the turtles in the north window, for whom she was a constant advocate. We miss her impassioned presence.

She was an actress, a professional photographer, and the author of a children’s book, By Two. About 15 years ago she wrote an essay about her life.

Excellent Advice from Barbara Daddario
on Turtles and Tortoises as Pets

Our own Barbara Daddario, Chair of the NYTTS Public Education and Information Committee, was interviewed by (a Web site devoted to advice for pet owners, finding veterinary care, and pet news). Read Barbara’s advice in Tempted to Get a Pet Turtle or Tortoise? Read This First, by Linda Lombardi, March 27, 2014.

Frank with giant mata-mata
(Chelus fimbriata)
“That Reptile Blog” by Frank Indiviglio

Frank Indiviglio, former Staten Island Zoo and Bronx Zoo keeper, and long-time friend of NYTTS, writes numerous articles for That Pet Place, especially for That Reptile Blog as well as others.

Read some of Frank’s turtle-related posts:

The Common Musk Turtle or Stinkpot – My Choice for Perfect Pet Turtle

Musk and Mud Turtles – Introducing Five Interesting Species

The Best Small Turtle Pets for Reptile Enthusiasts with Limited Space

Frank’s 4-year-old nephew Haiden with an eastern painted turtle found in a swampy area in Tenafly, New Jersey. See Haiden with a snapping turtle in Febuary.

See an Index of Frank’s Blog articles.

Recommended article:

Commercial Foods: Benefits/Uses, Staples/Supplements from theTurtleRoom.

The Plight of Frogs and the Impact of the Frog Leg Trade
     In the USA alone 1.1 billion frogs and in the European Union 2.3 billion frogs are imported for the frog leg trade every year. How long can this level of exploitation be sustained?  Read Frank’s shocking article:  Frog Leg Trade Kills Billions of Frogs Annually and Threatens Species’ Survival.

Populations worldwide are in serious decline. NYTTS salutes
Dr. Kerry Kriger and Save the Frogs for its vital conservation work.

Order Online! — NYTTS bumper stickers and turtle food (Turtle Brittle and AquaMax) can now be ordered online. Payment by credit card through PayPal, or by check. Go to the NYTTS Online Order Form.

Notice to New York City Residents

     The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation now has a 24-hour tips line to report violations of protected species regulations. It is prohibited to sell any New York State species of reptiles and amphibians. If you see any New York species for sale in pet shops or markets, please call 1-800-847-7332. Report the name and address of the business, and the animals you observed for sale.

Turtle Care Video from the Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society

NYTTS Red-eared Slider Adoption Policy

     Unfortunately, we no longer have local homes for these turtles because of the high numbers that have come to us in recent years. We sometimes have members with ponds who may offer to take in displaced sliders. We do not accept postings by individuals for adoptions of any species. All adoptions are handled through official NYTTS channels, and notices will be emailed to members at the discretion of our Board. Those members wishing to place turtles or to be considered as prospective adopters of sliders and other species should email with their contact information and the species they are interested in placing or adopting. Photos of their turtle/tortoise habitats and accommodations should be provided. Photos of turtles to be placed should also be provided.

     For more information on the status of red-eared sliders, see Sliders, Siders, Everywhere.

Past NYTTS Events and Member News

43rd Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show, Saturday, June 3, 2016See winners and photos.

Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day — NYTTS Displays Turtles for Eighth Year, Saturday, May 6, 2017.
     See slides of this event and previous years.

Seminar 2017 — The 31st NYTTS Seminar was held at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak in Yonkers, New York, on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Featured speakers included George Heinrich (Heinrich Ecological Services, St. Petersburg, Florida); Nathan Reid (Amarican Museum of Natural History); and Paul Calle (Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo). See photos from this meeting and review speakers and presentations.

42nd Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show, Saturday, June 4, 2016See winners and photos.

Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day — NYTTS Displays Turtles for seventh year, Saturday, May 7. 2016.
     See slides of this event and previous years.

Seminar 2015 — The 30th NYTTS Annual Seminar was held at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak in Yonkers, New York, on Saturday, October 24, 2015. Featured speakers included Britney Murphy, Danielle Taylor-Lang, and Nichole Shelmidine (WCS/Prospect Park Zoo); Theodora Pinou (Western Connecticut State University); and Ben Atkinson (Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida). See photos from this meeting and review speakers and presentations.

41st Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show, May 21, 2015See winners and photos.

“Compassionate Release” of Hatchling Turtles — The NYTTS Rehabilitation Program, directed by Lorri Cramer, continues its collaboration with local Buddhist leaders. See the special release ceremony on October 11, 2014.

40th Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show, May 21, 2014See winners and photos.

Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day 2014 — NYTTS Displays Turtles for fifth year, Saturday, May 4. 2014.
     See slides of this event and previous years.

Seminar 2014 — The 29th NYTTS Annual Seminar, was held in the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, New York City, on Saturday, May 17, 2014. Featured speakers included Bronx Zoo Curator of Herpetology Don Boyer, Smithsonian Instutute paleontologist Tyler Lyson, Chelonian Research Institute director Peter C.H. Pritchard, and Chief Bronx Zoo veterinarian Bonnie Raphael. See photos from this meeting and review speakers and presentations.

Josephine Arnold, a long-time member and familiar face at the Annual Turtle and Tortoise Shows, passed away suddenly on Sunday, April 14, 2013. See memorial page.

Alex Ypsilanti, long-time member and NYTTS Board member, passed away after a long and brave battle with cancer on Saturday, April 6, 2013. See memorial page.

Seminar 2013 — the 28th NYTTS Annual Seminar, was held in the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, New York City, on March 9, 2013. Featured speakers included Professor Russell Burke, sea turtle author Jack Rudloe, and Chelonian Institute Director Peter C.H. Pritchard. See photos from this meeting and review speakers and presentations.

NYTTS Joins Buddhist Leaders to encourage humane and environmentally friendly practices — The NYTTS Rehabilitation Program is collaborating with local Buddhist leaders to encourage the “New Compassionate Release Life Practice” and to support humane and environmentally friendly practices toward turtles and other animals. See Environmentally Friendly Buddhist Release Practices by Lorri Cramer, Director, NYTTS Turtle Rehabilitation Program (July 2012).

In Memory of Don Riemer — Long-time friend of NYTTS and contributing author to its publications in the 1980s and 90s, Donald N. Riemer, 78, died of cardiac arrest on June 13, 2012. He was a professor at Rutgers University where he conducted research and taught courses related to aquatic plants. See memorial and obituary.

38th Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show, June 2, 2012See Winners’ List.

“Turtles of Central Park” Urban Safari Walk, May 12, 2012See slide show and video of the walk.

Fish and Turtle Rescue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, March 2012 — For a second time NYTTS members particpated in the Fish and Rescue project in Prospect Park. See description and photo slide show.

Seminar 2012 — the 27th NYTTS Annual Seminar, was held in the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, New York City, on March 10, 2012. Featured speakers included naturalist-artist David M. Carroll, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Bog Turtle Recovery Program Coordinator Alison Whitlock, and Chelonian Institute Director Peter C.H. Pritchard. See photos from this meeting and review speakers and presentations.

Snapper Found in February 2012 — Frank Indiviglio and his 4-year-old nephew Haiden discovered a large snapping turtle in Alpine, New Jersey, in February. See Snapper Active in February.

NYTTS Member Matt Hybel Hatches 47 Asian Brown Tortoises! August 2011  See story and photos.

Remembering Stephanie Thompson ~ July 26, 2011 — Read “Stephanie Thompson — An Appreciation” by Michael Sherwin, a longtime friend and early NYTTS member, as well as a slide show of snapshots.

37th Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show, June 4, 2011See Winners’ List.

Bern Tryon, Well-known Bog Turtle Scientist, Dies May 6, 2011See obituaries.

Seminar 2011 — the 26th NYTTS Annual Seminar, was held in the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, New York City. Review speakers and presentations.

Papa Tortuga at NYTTS — On February 13, 2011, Fernando, affectionately known as “Papa Tortuga” (Father Turtle), and his team from the Tecolutla Turtle Preservation Project, presented a documentary and lecture on Fernando’s many years of work protecting nests and hatchlings. See more of Papa Tortuga at NYTTS.

Remembering JoAnn Vacchiano — Longtime NYTTS member and devoted turtle person JoAnn Vachiano passed away on January 20, 2011. See photo and remembrances.

36th Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show, June 12, 2010See Winners’ List and Photos.

In Memoriam: John Thorbjarnarson, well-known Wildlife Conservation Society herpetologist, died of malaria in India on February 14, 2010. See A Life in Conservation by Chuck Schaffer.

Fish and Turtle Rescue in Propect Park — In November 2009, NYTTS volunteers joined the Natural Resounces Crew in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, in their fish and turtle rescue project while a small portion of the northeast end of Prospect Park Lake was drained by the Parks Department in preparation for reconstruction of the shoreline. See more information and slides of that effort.

Florida Turtle Tour: Topic of November 1st (2009) meeting: — NYTTS members who participated in turtle biologist George Heinrich’s Florida Turtles Natural History Tour the previous summer shared their experience with slides and stories. See more information and a slide show of the 2009 summer tour.

The Asian Turtle Crisis: An Update — Two videos taken 13 years apart show that little changed in the markets in Guangzhou, China, from 1997 to 2009. Compare the videos.

Clarifying Regulations in New York State for all Native Species:  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation now requires a permit to keep any species of reptile and amphibian native to New York State. This includes all twelve species of New York turtles. The mechanism by which owners of New York turtles may acquire permits is being investigated.  Read and download an overview of the new regulations.


Membership in the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society is open to all interested persons for an annual fee of $25.  Your membership helps support the Society’s activities and programs, including Rescue/Rehab and Public Education, as well as meetings and lectures. Go to Membership Registration Form.

  Donations to the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society are tax deductible and can be made online with your credit card by clicking the Donate button, or by sending a check payable to NYTTS, to NYTTS Donations, 1214 W. Boston Post Road, Box 267, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.

NYTTS Mailing List.  If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please submit your e-mail address. Those who subsribed to the NYTTS Yahoo Group have been added to the main NYTTS Mailing List. If you wish to remove your address from our list, please write Webmaster.

Questions?  Send your inquiries to the appropriate committee chair:
  • General Information — Turtle husbandry and health care, adoptions, NYTTS activities and general information. If you have a turtle-related question, inquire online here.
  • Public Education and Information Chair — Barbara Daddario
         Public education programs and outreach events, adoptions
  • Director of Turtle Rehabilitation and Curriculum Development — Lorri Cramer
         Wild turtle rehab, injured, and sick turtles
  • Memberships and Sales — Allen Foust
         Membership inquiries and member records; turtle food and bumper stickers
  • Programs, Meetings, and Habitat Construction — Matt Hybel
         Speaker acquisition, scheduling, and design and construction of habitats
  • Conservation, Trade Issues, and Media — Allen Salzberg
         (See also, a free electronic newsletter.)
  • Webmaster — Jim Van Abbema

NYTTS gratefully acknowledges ZooMed Laboratories, Inc., That Pet Place, and Unco Industries, Inc.–Vermiculture for their ongoing donations of gift certificates and turtle and tortoise care supplies, made avail­able at our Annual Turtle and Tortoise Shows.