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The National Turtle Sanctuary


The National Turtle Sanctuary is a unique concept and carefully collaborated sanctuary to meet the needs of abandoned turtles around the UK. Turtles became extremely popular pets in the UK thanks to the release of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise in the early 90s. Particularly popular at this time were Red-Eared Sliders. These turtles, along with Yellow-Bellied Sliders and  Cumberland Sliders, have recently made the news again as they are now classed as an invasive species in the UK.

Many turtles, particularly the three sliders mentioned above, grow into large adults so need a lot of space. Turtles are very cute when small, so without prior research, it’s only when they begin to reach maturity that owners begin to realise what a huge responsibility they’ve taken on.
Turtles can be difficult to re-home, and sadly many owners have released them into local rivers and canals. Many will have perished due to the climate, but others have adapted and thrived, leading to a great deal of environmental damage, hence the subsequent illegal status for Red-Eared Sliders, Yellow-Bellied Sliders and  Cumberland Sliders.

And so The National Turtle Sanctuary is Born…

Through careful collaboration, and the help of organisations and the public alike, the National Turtle Sanctuary provides a forever home for all abandoned turtles. The sanctuary includes a number of purpose-built turtle pods, which have been designed by experts in herpetology to provide the turtles with the conditions they need to live healthy, happy lives.

In keeping with Lincolnshire Wildlife Park’s ethos of working with local companies where possible, we have drafted in Cold-Blooded Care and Lincolnshire Pond Plants, who have provided not only decorative flora but also specially chosen pond plants to ensure water quality in the most natural and eco-friendly way.

Each pod houses up to 12 turtles in need of a forever home and, with more pods in the pipeline in the near future, the sanctuary aims to house upwards of 1,000 varying species of turtles and terrapins.

The sanctuary is lucky enough to also have a natural pond on the park’s nature reserve that over 400 turtles now call their home. Visitors can enjoy a stroll within the natural landscape, as well as spotting these wonderful species basking on the rocks and banks of the pond.


Help us, help Turtles in Malaysia!

We support the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia. A charity working to save turtles native to Malaysia. As part of their breeding and release program they need equipment such as microchips to ensure the turtles they release remain healthy and thriving.

As part of our support we have pledged to donate microchips and readers to the charity but as such require your help. Please donate to help them at:

Your help would be so very much appreciated.

Turtle Rehoming

Please note that the sanctuary has now reached full capacity and we are no longer able to accept any terrapins or turtles. If you have a terrapin for rehoming then we can fully recommend the NCRW or South Yorkshire Tortoise & Terrapin Rescue.

Do you want to help?

 The amazing people at King British donated 20p from every sale of turtle and terrapin food sold, to help our charity. Find out more about how King British are helping the charity by clicking here to go to their website!

If you know of a nursery or garden centre that may want to be involved in helping donate amazing plant-life for our pods, then please let them know about us! Alternatively, if you love turtles then perhaps you’d like to donate a gift from our Amazon wish list? Check it out here!

A message from Andy Ferguson

Herpetologist at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park:

“We’ve had a long term connection with the team down at the National Centre for Reptile Welfare in Tonbridge, and since the centre opened, a very large problem for both the centre and our natural habitats was quickly identified – turtles! With such a vast space available to us here, we have the capabilities to provide more than enough space and land for terrapins to be housed, and as we are a sanctuary they will be here to enjoy the remainder of their lives.”

“We would like to express our most sincere thanks to King British for being pivotal in the formation of our first of its kind National Turtle Sanctuary. Their sponsorship is invaluable to the project, not only in providing the charity with funds that will enable us to construct stage one of the rehoming centre, but ensuring its success with ongoing support.”