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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Next New York Turtle and Tortoise Society Meeting to Be Announced Soon

A New Meeting Place for NYTTS

Since the NYC Parks Department no longer hosts week­end meetings at the Arsenal in Central Park, NYTTS has been in search of a new place to hold its meetings.

We are fortunate to have recently established a part­nership with the Science Department at Berkeley College in Manhattan. In exchange for giving turtle talks and live-animal demonstrations to science classes, the college has given us classroom space on Saturdays. Centrally located, very near public transpor­tation, Berkeley College is an ideal spot. At 12 East 41st Street, it is just a few doors east of 5th Avenue and the New York Public Library. See area map below; click to enlarge.

Parking on Saturdays may be difficult (expensive in local garages), but many who wish to drive may de­cide to find street parking in a known location and take a bus or subway to the college.

For a regular 11:00 a.m. meeting, please plan to arrive at Berkeley between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. and report to the security desk. Indicate that you are attending the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society meeting, and you will be directed to our classroom. See you there!

“Compassionate Release” of Hatchling Turtles

The NYTTS Rehabilitation Program, directed by Lorri Cramer, is very excited to continue its collaboration 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. Slowly this project, which started in 2011 (see Environ­mentally Friendly Buddhist Release Practices by Lorri Cramer), is increasing in participation and scope.

On Saturday October 11, five NYTTS members—Christopher, Lauren and Ed Cho; Abby, Lorri and Mitch Cramer; Suzanne Dohm; and Jim Van Abbema—attended a sacred Buddhist “Compassionate Release Life” ceremony at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. During the ceremony hatchling diamondback terrapins that had been saved from predation were blessed and then released into the wild. Because of rain, the blessing took place inside the Visitor Center where we were quite comfortable.

The day started in the classroom with Dr. Russell Burke who gave a PowerPoint presentation, which highlighted his work to help the diamondbacks of Jamaica Bay and the problems they are facing.

The blessing was held in the atrium of the Visitor Center where the Ven­erable Jing Yi, Abbess of Grace Gratitude Buddhist Temple, formed a prayer circle with the congregants, facing the large windows that looked out onto the wetlands. The tiny turtles were placed in a small container at the center while Ven. Jing Yi and the other congregants led the Com­passionate Release Life prayers and chants. (Photo: Mitch Cramer)

While only six baby dia­mondbacks were being re­leased, Ven. Jing Yi said that the blessings were also for all the other animals in the Wildlife Refuge.

After the ceremony, the rain stopped and we all streamed into the refuge to celebrate the release of the tiny tur­tles. Cameras clicked away as one by one each hatch­ling was released, each car­rying the blessing and good wishes for a long and healthy life.

For the complete story, see “Karma on the Half Shell” by Eveline Chao.

Barbara Daddario Wins Best In Show
at the 40th Annual Turtle and Tortoise Show!

For her breeding groups of Central American Wood Turtles
(Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima manni and R. p. incisa)

Barbara is pictured here with Show Judge Pete Warny
and some of her winning turtles. Congratulations Barbara!

See list of winners and winners’ group photos.

Photo by Anita Salzberg

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.

NYTTS booth attracts record crowd on Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day — Saturday, May 3. 2014.  See slide show
from this year and previous years.

Seminar 2014 Speakers

Peter Pritchard, Don Boyer,
Tyler Lyson, and Bonnie Raphael

(Saturday, May 17)

Photo by Anita Salzberg

See Program

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.

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.

Special 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.

Past NYTTS Events and Member News

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 (20120 — 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.

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, 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
         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: