Bringing a Turtle, Tortoise, or Terrapin into the United States
Imports of small turtles, tortoises, and terrapins are limited by law.
CDC regulations limit imports of small turtles, tortoises and terrapins and their viable eggs. This rule was implemented in 1975 after it was discovered that small turtles frequently transmitted Salmonella to humans, particularly young children.
- Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins with a carapace (shell) length of less than 4 inches and turtle eggs may not be imported for any commercial purpose.
- An individual may import as many as six small turtles, tortoises, or terrapins or six eggs or any combination totaling six or fewer animals and their eggs for noncommercial purposes.
- Turtles with shell length (carapace) less than 4″ and viable turtle eggs may NOT be imported for commercial purposes
If you have questions about importing turtles or their eggs for scientific, exhibition, or educational purposes, contact CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also regulates the importation of reptiles. Regulations regarding reptiles, fish, or harmful species can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.