New rules for red-eared slider take effect July 1
Beginning July 1, people no longer may purchase red-eared sliders -- common
pet store turtles. A new rule passed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) prohibits selling the species. However, anyone who
already has a red-eared slider may keep it, under the new rule.
“This exemption was included to allow owners of red-eared sliders to keep
their turtles and discourage them from releasing this nonnative species into the
wild,” said Scott Hardin, FWC exotic species coordinator. “We want to
encourage people to protect our native turtles. Red-eared slider turtles
interbreed with Florida’s native yellow-bellied sliders.”
Red-eared sliders already in captivity will not be allowed to breed, so any
offspring will have to be surrendered to certified red-eared slider adopters or
dealers, or euthanized.
People still can buy and sell albino red-eared sliders and others with
unusual color variations, often known as pastels.
“These colorful varieties are more expensive and unlikely to be released,”
Dealers can apply for permits to import red-eared sliders to ship out of
state or sell to permitted turtle dealers or breeders in Florida, but imported
red-eared sliders may not be sold as pets in this state.
FWC will issue permits to qualified research institutions and exhibitors to
possess red-eared sliders.
The new rule also requires a solid fence or planking buried at least 6 inches
under the ground for red-eared sliders kept outside.
Owners of pet red-eared sliders may not acquire additional specimens, and if
their turtles reproduce, they should destroy all eggs before they hatch.
FWC is working to establish a pet adoption network for nonnative fish and
wildlife, including red-eared sliders. If you have questions about your pet
red-eared slider or are interested in becoming a certified adopter of unwanted
nonnative pets, contact Jenny Novak at (850) 926-0128.