Bringing a Turtle, Snake, or Lizard into the United States

A turtle considers moving ahead.

Imports of small turtles are limited by law.

CDC does not regulate snakes or lizards, but does limit imports of small turtles, tortoises and terrapins and their viable eggs. Turtles 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 or six eggs or any combination totaling six or fewer turtles and turtle eggs for noncommercial purposes. This rule was implemented in 1975 after it was discovered that small turtles frequently transmitted Salmonella to humans, particularly young children.

  • Turtles with shell length (carapace) less than 4″ and viable turtle eggs may NOT be imported for commercial purposes

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulates the importation of reptiles. Regulations regarding reptiles, fish, injurious pdf icon[PDF – 2 pages]external icon or endangered speciesexternal icon can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service import/export websiteexternal icon.

Turtles or Turtle Eggs Imported for Permitted Purposes

If you have questions about importing turtles or their eggs for scientific, exhibition, or educational purposes, contact CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov.