Red-eared sliders are illegal to buy, sell or possess

iillegal turtles

SALEM — Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists warn against buying red-eared sliders, nonnative invasive turtles that are illegal in the state.

Red-eared sliders, named for the red markings on the side of their heads, are sold on Internet sites, by street vendors and in some pet stores. They commonly carry the bacteria salmonella on their skin and shells.

“This time of year, we seem to see more illegal turtles for sale, although it’s a year-round problem,” said Rick Boatner, ODFW invasive species coordinator.

Turtles less than four inches in length are banned from sale and distribution by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 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.

People in possession of a red-eared slider should call the local ODFW office for advice. Biologists say never to release a nonnative turtle into the wild; it hurts both native habitat and species.

— Dean Brickey

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