Want a lil' turtle? Shop wisely, warns ODFW

Some are illegal, pose health risk

POSTED: 11:00 PM PDT March 27, 2013    UPDATED: 11:02 PM PDT March 27, 2013 
Young turtles - ODFW
SALEM, Ore. -

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists warned Oregonians Wednesday to be cautious when buying turtles as pets. Many of them are illegal to buy, sell or possess, despite the fact they are sold on Internet sites, by street vendors and in some pet stores.

“This is the time of year we start to see more illegal turtles for sale. Small pet turtles and non-native turtles are a big concern,” said Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species Coordinator. 



Oregon’s native turtles

Oregon’s two native turtles, the western painted and the western pond, are protected by law. It is illegal to take them from the wild, purchase them or keep them as pets. Both are listed on the state sensitive species list and highlighted in the Oregon Conservation Strategy as species in need of conservation.

Legal turtles

There are a number of turtles that are legal to have as pets in Oregon. Visit the Living with Wildlife, Turtles section of ODFW’s website for a list. If you do buy a turtle over the internet, on craigslist or from a pet store, quarantine it first to make sure it is healthy before adding it to your aquarium.