Bringing a Turtle, Snake, or Lizard into the United States
CDC does not regulate snakes or lizards, but does limit imports of small turtles. Those with a carapace (shell) length of less than 4 inches may not be imported for any commercial purpose. An individual may import as many as six of these turtles for noncommercial purposes. This rule was implemented in 1975 after it was discovered that small turtles frequently transmitted Salmonella to humans, particularly young children.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulates the importation of reptiles. Regulations regarding reptiles, fish, injurious [PDF - 2 pages] or endangered species can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service import/export website.