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.

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Three NYTTS Events in May! — Save the Dates!

• Saturday, May 3: Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day, Inwood HIll Park, Manhattan
• Saturday, May 17: Annual NYTTS Seminar, Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, Manhattan
• Saturday, May 31: Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show, Village Community School, Greenwich Village

See more information on these events below.

Matt Hybel with alligator snappting turltle
at Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day 2013
See photos from previous years.
Next NYTTS Event:
Annual Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day

Inwood Hill Park, Saturday, May 3, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. From falcons and salamanders to deer and seals (and of course, turtles), wildlife viewing opportunities exist year-round in all of our parks and beaches. Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day is sponsored by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the Urban Park Rangers.

NYTTS will participate for the fifth year in this event. Exhibits will include squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, eagles, live birds of prey, and turtles provided by NYTTS.

Join us and volunteer to talk about turtles to the public. By subway, take the Broadway No. 1 train to 215th Street and walk west on 215th to the park. Click thumbnail map to enlarge. For questions, write

The New York Turtle and Tortoise Society announces

Seminar 2014

Saturday, May 17, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.,
The Arsenal Gallery, Central Park, 5th Avenue at 64th Street, New York City

Presentations by

Don Boyer (Curator of Herpetology, Bronx Zoo) and Bonnie Raphael (Veterinarian, Bronx Zoo):
     “Wildlife Conservation Society Endangered Turtle Conservation Initiative”

Tyler Lyson (Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.):
     “The Origin of the Turtle Body Plan”

Peter C.H. Pritchard (Director, Chelonian Research Institute, Oviedo, Florida):
     “Twenty-six Years of Marine Turtle Conservation in Guyana”

More information will be posted soon.

The 40th Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show

Saturday, May 31, 2014, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Village Community School, Greenwich Village, Manhattan

See Show Rules and information.

Lorri Cramer: Building Good Turtle Karma

“Lorri Cramer [NYTTS Director of Turtle Rehabilitation and Curriculum Development] has been building good turtle karma for a long time.” So begins an article explaining how Lorri developed her expertise rehabilitating turtles over some 33 years—over 1,000 for NYTTS. A recurring problem Lorri encountered was that numbers of turtles were being released in inappropriate places, many times jeopardizing their survival. The releases were traced to Chinese Buddhist Life Release ceremonies. After numerous letters to temples, Lorri eventually made successful contact with a respected member of the New York Chinese Buddhist community. Read how Lorri and a Buddhist temple in Chinatown have joined forces to help solve the problem. See Building Good Karma: The Buddhist Ceremony of Releasing Turtles. See also Environmentally Friendly Buddhist Release Practices, an article for NYTTS by Lorri Cramer in 2012.

Excellent Advice from Barbara Daddario
on Turtles and Tortloises as Pets

Our own Barbara Daddario, Chair of the NYTTS Public Education and Information Committee, was recently 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.

The 37th Annual Meeting of the Interna­tional Herpe­tological Symposium will be held at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, California, July 16–20, 2014. See program and registration information.

Photo by Frank Indiviglio

Frank Indiviglio Presentation

Sunday, February 9, 2014, the Arsenal Gallery, Central Park, New York City

Veteran Zoo Keeper Frank Indiviglio gave a talk on “Large, Rare, and Unusual Species of Turtles in Captivity,” relating many of his experiences as a keeper at the Bronx Zoo and the Staten Island Zoo.

Frank’s frequent charge is his six-year-old nephew, Haiden, who often accompanies him on field trips. Haiden is well on his way to becoming a herpetologist.

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 Frank’s latest 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.

See the 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.

Galápagos Trip Planned for NYTTS Members
Led by Prof. Russell Burke

Dr. Russell Burke, Hofstra University (and speaker at this year’s Annual NYTTS Seminar), is interested in organizing a trip for NYTTS members to the Galápagos Islands in January 2015. He has led five previous group tours to the Enchanted Islands, and he promises us a trip we will never forget!

This would be a land-based tour, with nights spent in local hotels, and day trips touring San Cristobel, Santa Cruz, Isabela Islands, and others to see plenty of tortoises, sea turtles, land iguanas, marine iguanas, sea lions, and wonderful birds. Included would be 3–4 days in the Santa Cruz highlands where we can conduct citizen science research projects on Galápagos tortoises. Of course, there will be snorkeling to see marine iguanas, penguins, sharks, sea lions, and other marine life.

Currently, we want to determine how many people would be realistically interested. The trip would be approximately 14 days in January 2015, with a total trip cost somewhere around $3,700, which is a very competitive price. If you’re interested, please e-mail Russell at

Newest Book Offering from NYTTS:

Amphibians and Reptiles of Northeast India: A Photographic Guide
by M. Firoz Ahmed, Abhijit Das, and S.K. Dutta

Firoz Ahmed, who spoke at the NYTTS meeting on February 10, 2013, has made his excellent field guide available for $18 postpaid. He continues his research on reptiles and amphibians in the region, and all proceeds from the book will be allocated for the next edition of the guide.

The guide measures 4¾" by 7" (large enough to show the color photos of each species clearly but small enough to be carried easily in the field), softcover with 170 pages; © 2009 Aaranyak, India.

Please allow several weeks for our shipment to arrive from India. Go to order form.
Preview sample inside pages. Click images to enlarge.

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. T-shirts coming soon!

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.

Recent NYTTS Meetings and Regional Turtle News

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.

Urban Wildlife Apprciation Day 2012 — On Saturday, May 5, 2012, NYTTS participated for the third year in Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day, held this year in Inwood Hill Park at the top of Manhattan along the Harlem River. See slide show of the event.

Fish and Turtle Rescue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn — 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 — 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!  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.

Urban Wildlife Apprciation Day 2011 — On Saturday, April 7, 2011, NYTTS participated for the second year in the New York City Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day, held on the Cloisters Lawn in Fort Tryon Park. See slide show of the event.

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, 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.

Urban Wildlife Apprciation Day — On , Saturday, April 10, 2010, NYTTS staffed a table with turtles and information for the public at the New York City Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day, held on the Cloisters Lawn in Fort Tryon Park. See slide show of the event.

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
         Have a turtle-related question? Inquire online here.
  • Public Education and Information Chair — Barbara Daddario:
         Public education programs and outreach events
  • 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 and Meetings — Matt Hybel:
         Speaker acquisition and scheduling
  • Conservation, Trade Issues, and Media — Allen Salzberg:
         (See also, a free electronic newsletter.)
  • Webmaster — Jim Van Abbema: