The Oregon Seal Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife  
 » ODFW Home    » 2011 News Releases
News Releases
2018 Releases | 2017 Releases | 2016 Releases | 2015 Releases | 2014 Releases | 2013 Releases | 2012 Releases | 2011 Releases | 2010 Releases
facebook twitter youtube rss feed
emailReceive News Release Updates by E-mail Media Contacts

Turtle alert: In Oregon red-eared sliders are illegal to buy, sell or possess
April 1 , 2011


Hatchling turtles
Hatchling turtles in shipping container.
Download higher resolution image.

SALEM, Ore.— Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists warn Oregonians not to buy red-eared sliders, nonnative invasive turtles which are illegal in the state. Red-eared sliders, named for the red “ear” (markings) on the side of their heads, are offered for sale on Internet sites, by street vendors and in some pet stores.

“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. “We are especially concerned about small turtles that are sold as pets for children and commonly carry the bacteria salmonellaon their skin and shells.”

Turtles less than four inches in shell 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 four inches into Oregon.

If you are in possession of a red-eared slider, contact your local ODFW office for advice. Never release a nonnative turtle into the wild; it hurts both native habitat and species.

Red-eared sliders are native to the East Coast of the United States. In Oregon, they compete with native turtles for food and habitat, especially nesting and basking sites, and can spread diseases to which the state’s native turtles have no immunity.

Red-eared slider
Red-eared sliders are illegal to buy, sell or possess in Oregon
Download higher resolution image.

Oregon has only two native turtles: the western painted and the western pond, both are listed on the state sensitive species list and highlighted in the Oregon Conservation Strategy as species in need of help. They are both protected by law; it is illegal to take them from the wild and to keep them as pets.

“All in all, turtles do not make good pets,” said Boatner.” Native turtles are protected and belong in the wild, and many nonnative turtles are illegal and have to be kept out of the wild.”

Important Information

  1. Red-eared slider fact sheet, ODFW website
  2. Pet Turtles: Cute but Contaminated with Salmonella, FDA website
  4. Oregon Department of Agriculture Importation and Sale of Turtles, OAR 603-011-0420
  5. Identification flyer for Oregon’s native and non-native turtles, ODFW website, Living with Wildlife section.
  6. The Oregon Conservation Strategy, ODFW website
  7. ODFW local and regional offices are listed on the website.

Photo captions: Download high resolution images from ODFW website.

Hatchling turtles in shipping container.
Red-eared sliders are illegal to buy, sell or possess in Oregon.




Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species Coordinator, (503) 947-6308
Meg Kenagy, ODFW Conservation Strategy Coordinator, (503) 947-6021

facebook twitter youtube rss feed



About Us | Fishing | Hunting | Wildlife Viewing | License / Regs | Conservation | Living with Wildlife | ODFW Outdoors

ODFW Home | Driving Directions | Employee Directory | Social Media | | File Formats | Employee Webmail | ODFW License Agents

4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE   ::   Salem, OR 97302   ::    Main Phone (503) 947-6000 or (800) 720-ODFW [6339]

Do you have a question or comment for ODFW? Contact ODFW's Public Service Representative at:
Share your opinion or comments on a Fish and Wildlife Commission issue at

   © ODFW. All rights reserved. This page was last updated: 10/03/2011 4:45 PM