More than 100 turtles urgently need new homes after pouring into Auckland Reptile Rescue.
The Whangateau-based service is at full capacity, caring for around 150 turtles, and wants to find people willing to adopt them.
Turtles are regularly dropped off at Auckland Reptile Rescue after their owners find they have grown too big for their tanks and they can no longer afford to look after them.
Rescue manager Angie Harvey says turtles can grow bigger than dinner plates and can live for more than 50 years, so taking on a turtle requires a serious commitment.
She says people will often buy them for $40 when they are cute babies on Trade Me, not realising what they are letting themselves in for.
Some are abandoned in waterways where they cause devastation through eating native plants and fish.
“I do a lot of seminars and go around to schools to educate people about turtles,” Angie says.
Because of the responsibilities involved, Angie takes care to ensure potential adopters have suitable ponds that are adequately fenced so the turtles cannot wander off and cause havoc elsewhere.
An individual adopter will only receive turtles of the same sex so they cannot breed and potentially add to the unwanted turtle population.
Angie says while keeping turtles can be demanding, they are also a lot of fun.
“Some have got really good personalities. Some will come out of the water, follow me around and are super friendly,” she says.