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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will the Hatchery take my unwanted pet turtle?
The Hatchery rarely accepts unwanted turtles, as we have very limited space available. Please contact the Hatchery BEFORE bringing the turtle. The Hatchery does request that non-native turtles are not released into the wild. You may contact rescue organizations or your local pet store to see if they will accept your turtle.

2. Can I release my Red-eared slider into a local pond?
Red-earred Sliders are not native to New York State. They are an aggressive turtle that compete with native turtles for food and space; hence, displacing the native turtle. If you no longer want to care for your slider, return it to your pet store. It is illegal to release them into the wild.

3. Can people fish at the Hatchery?
Yes! Every Friday through Tuesday from 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. See our fishing page for more details.

4. What should I do if I find a turtle crossing the road?
Carefully, move the turtle across the road in the direction it was heading. Turtles often move around in a home range looking for food, water and a nesting site.

5. What happened to Junior?
Junior was a 74 pound, 84-year-old common snapping turtle that lived at the Hatchery. In June of 1998, Junior was stolen. The perpetrator broke into the Hatchery at night, and snatched Junior. Junior's turtle-napping made national news and he was featured on the front page of Newsday. Three days after his disappearance, the turtle-nappers made an anonymous call to the Hatchery and told us where we could find Junior. Junior was safely returned into his pond. Sadly, 1 month later on July 31, 1998, Junior died. His recent adventure had been too much for him and he passed away quietly in his sleep.

6. How does the Hatchery prevent its ponds from freezing in the winter?
The Hatchery's trout ponds are fed by 6 artesian wells. The water flows at approximately 400 gallons per minute. The water is 52 degrees F as it leaves the ground. The combination of the fast water flow and cool water temperature prevent the trout ponds from icing over.

7. What does the Hatchery do with all its trout?
The Hatchery sells its brook and rainbow trout for stocking purposes. See our Fish Sales page for more infomation.

8. Does the Hatchery sell its baby turtles?
The Hatchery does not sell turtles. None of them are sold to pet stores or taken home as pets. A turtle can be purchased at your local pet store.

9. Can I see sharks and dolphins at the Hatchery?
The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium is a freshwater facility. All the animals live in freshwater environments and are native to New York State. Therefore, there are no sharks, dolphins, alligators or piranha. There are a lot of other neat, scaly and slimy creatures for a person to observe!