Wildlife workers warn of illegal turtle sales - KPTV - FOX 12

Wildlife workers warn of illegal turtle sales

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If you're looking to bring a turtle into your life as a pet, be careful, because many are illegal to buy, sell or possess.

Turtles less than 4 inches in shell length are illegal because they commonly carry the bacteria salmonella on their skin and shells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration instituted the ban to protect infants, young children, pregnant women and others.

Under Oregon Department of Agriculture rules, it is illegal to import turtles less than 4 inches into Oregon.

Wildlife workers said other non-native turtles are illegal because they end up in Oregon's ponds and lakes and compete with native turtles for food and habitat, while also spreading disease.

Red-eared sliders, named for the red markings on the side of their head, are considered especially destructive.

If you are in possession of a red-eared slider or other illegal turtle, contact your local ODFW office for advice.

Never release a non-native turtle into the wild.

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.

For more information, go to www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/turtles.asp.

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