Indiana DNR Box Turtle FAQs
1.) May I collect a box turtle from the wild?
No. Regulations that became law in 2004 do not allow the collection of box turtles from the wild in Indiana. If you wish to collect one in another state, you must follow all rules and regulations of that state.
2.) Can I possess a box turtle as a pet?
Only if you acquired it legally. Indiana requires box turtle owners to have a permit issued by the DNR. This includes all sub species of box turtles, not just our native species, which are the Eastern and the Ornate.
3.) What should I do if I already have a box turtle?
If you have a box turtle and no longer want it, please contact the Division of Fish & Wildlife or e-mail Linnea Petercheff.
Do not release the turtle into the wild. Its chances of survival are small, and it could transmit diseases to a wild box turtles.
4.) Can I possess a box turtle egg, shell, or other parts of a turtle?
The eggs of all native reptiles, including box turtles, are protected by law and cannot be taken from the wild in Indiana. The shell or any other part of a box turtle is included in the protection of box turtles in Indiana.
5.) What should I do if I find an injured or sick box turtle?
Sick or slightly injured box turtles should be left in the wild. Box turtles are surprisingly resilient to damage and disease. If left alone, they will, more than likely, heal on their own. If a box turtle appears severely injured, it can be given to a licensed rehabilitator or licensed veterinarian.
You cannot possess an injured turtle for more than 24 hours to transport it to a licensed rehabilitator.
You can obtain the name(s) of licensed rehabilitators in your area by contacting one of the following:
Call a wild animal rehabilitator permitted by the DNR. A list is at wildlife.IN.gov/5492.htm.
Call DNR law enforcement at (812) 837-9536.
Call the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife in Indianapolis at (317) 232-4080.
Call a licensed veterinarian.
6.) What do I do if I find a nesting turtle, nest or eggs?
Leave them alone. Box turtles can easily be scared away from nesting sites. A mesh fence may be placed around a nest to protect eggs from predators. This enclosure should be checked daily to ensure that newly emerging turtles are not caught. Do not try to excavate a turtle nest on your own. Disturbing the position of turtle eggs may kill the turtle embryo. If you see a nest that is about to be destroyed because of new development, you may contact a local rehabilitator for assistance. A licensed rehabilitator can raise the young and release them back into the wild. Do not try to rescue the eggs or nest yourself. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to save every nest.
7.) How can I help box turtles in the wild?
Leave leaf litter and fallen woody debris on the forest floor.
Protect and/or promote the protection of turtle habitat.
Obey speed limits to allow appropriate stopping time if a turtle is on the road.
If you see a box turtle trying to cross a busy road, you can pick it up and move it to the other side of the road in the direction it was facing. The turtle cannot be kept or moved to any other location.
Do not burn large areas during peak activity times for turtles.
Check yards before mowing or burning brush piles.
Report any collection or sale of box turtles to the Division of Fish & Wildlife at (317) 232-4080 or to the Division of Law Enforcement at (812) 837-9536. This can be done anonymously.