20 Years of Saving Turtles. And Tortoises!

Saturday May 23 marks the 20th anniversary of World Turtle Day, an annual celebration to encourage the protection of turtles, tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. 

About 30 different species of turtle and tortoise call Texas home; some common, some endangered, some terrestrial, some aquatic.

There are simple ways you can help keep our shelled neighbors safe. 

  • Don't buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop, it only increases demand for wild individuals. 
  • Report the sale of any individual under four inches to local authorities.
  • If you're helping a tortoise cross the road send it in the same direction that it was going, otherwise it will just turn around!

And in honor of World Turtle Day, here's a sneak peek at our next Wild Women column by Louie Bond. Meet Ila Loetscher, the Turtle Lady of South Padre Island!

At 81 in 1985, petite but indomitable Ila strolled onstage at Late Night with a year-old Atlantic green sea turtle incongruously attired in a wig and baby dress with ruffly pink panties, then proceeded to playfully nibble the creature's flippers and rub the turtle's oil on her face as a "beauty treatment."

Next came a 3-year-old turtle in a giant hat and poncho, whose severed flipper caused him to swim in circles, Ila reported. 

"Boy, do I know that feeling," quipped host David Letterman, obviously tickled by his sprightly guest. 

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