Rio Grande Turtle & Tortoise Club
For your best chance of success, you want to get a turtle that's healthy, and already acclimated to living in captivity and, ideally, the local environment as well. With that in mind, captive-bred or long-term captive turtles from local sources are ideal.
Our Facebook Group is a great place to go if you want to connect with other turtle and tortoise owners who may have turtles available for adoption. such as box turtles, red-eared sliders, tortoises, and other species available for adoption. Neighbors and co-workers may have turtles they need to find homes for, and are usually delighted to let them go to someone they are familiar with and can trust. Animal shelters also frequently have turtles available for adoption, and while shelters do not have the resources to evaluate the turtles prior to placement, you will still be getting an animal that is accustomed to living in captivity and be giving it a good home.
A few pet stores offer captive-bred or long-term captive turtles for sale or resale, and this can be a good option provided they are healthy, well-kept, and that the person selling them is knowledgeable about their care. But in general, we do not recommend that people buy turtles from pet stores, since they are usually wild-caught (and likely to be highly stressed or sick as a result) or imported from commercial hatcheries in the southeastern US, and thus are not acclimated to living in captivity or the high-desert conditions of New Mexico. Purchasing turtles from roadside and flea market dealers, or off the internet, are also not good options. These animals are very often being sold illegally, you will probably receive inaccurate care information, or none at all, and you have little if any recourse if your new pet turns out to be sick, or dies.