Always be 100% sure of your identification before handling any reptile. If you are at all unsure, leave the handling to an experienced rescuer. You can find details of local rescues on our Rescue page, or for Reptile Specific rescues see below. 
If you are confident to pick it up, wear thick gloves and do so gently. 

Tortoises can be placed on a towel inside a cardboard box.

Nowadays tortoises are likely to be microchipped in one of their back legs, so please take to a local Vet who can scan and take care of it until an owner is found.



Tortoises lost in a house will normally seek out a dark spot underneath something. So carefully inspect under furniture and appliances, and any place where the tortoise could have squeezed through. Unfortunately, the missing tortoise may not come out for food or water. A thorough inch-by-inch search is the best way to find them.

If they have been lost from a pen or run in a garden or outside space, search the immediate area as soon as possible, including under hedges and shrubs and in neighbouring gardens.

Tortoises are very good at digging and will frequently burrow themselves deep underground, so look closely for any disturbed patches of earth and excavate the area gently, using your hands.

Morning sunlight may bring a tortoise out of its hiding place to bask, so look carefully at this time if it hasn't been found yet.

Hose down the general area with a garden hose on a gentle spray setting, the damp has been known to bring tortoises out of hiding.

Never underestimate how fast and how far a tortoise can travel. The hot weather can make them more active, just as the cold weather can make them less so.


As soon as you are able, register your missing Tortoise on the DogLost website

It is free for you to register as a user, and as soon as you have, you can register your tortoise and add a good clear photograph of your pet.

Go to Register a Lost Dog section, then use the "Unknown" option in the Breeds drop down menu, and put the word "Tortoise" in the Name field.

Complete the rest of the details as best you can, including chip number etc, as appropriate.

Once registered, with a photo, you will then have access to a printable poster, which is really important and the site will send an email to all local Doglost volunteers to alert them to your missing tortoise.

Please note, it is important to add a photo even if it is only one of a similar looking tortoise, so long as you watermark the image, or make it clear in the listing, as the email will only be triggered once a photo is added.

Put posters up everywhere you can. See our list of suggestions on where to put posters. 

Contact all the local Vets and Rescues to let them know your tortoise is missing.

Cat Attacks

Reptiles can suffer small but serious puncture wounds in cat attacks, which can fast become infected and will need urgent veterinary treatment. 

Caught in Garden Netting

If you find a tortoise caught up in garden netting, do not just cut it free and let it go.
It is possible it will develop pressure necrosis, a serious condition, which can take up to a week to develop, after being caught in a ligature.
Do not attempt to cut it free as this may cause more stress. 
Put the tortoise and the tangled netting into a bag or box, as per the instructions above and seek urgent veterinary treatment.

Reptile Rescues

For more help and advice, contact one of the following organisations: 

RSPCA Reptile Rescue
Braypool Lane
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Berkshire Reptile Rescue
RG12 7HT
07930 247329

Surrey & Hampshire Reptile Rescue
For rescue/rehome or just advice
Mandy on 07476 202030
For tortoise, terrapin, turtles etc. 
Lisa on 07983 923237