Well…not quite yet, but as of July 1st, turtles smaller than 4 inches in length will be illegal to own. Stores have already stopped selling turtles as of last July, in compliance with a Florida state law outlawing the sale of exotic creatures.
The law comes from having so many red-eared sliders released into the local population. Being quicker on land and in water, the turtles are overrunning the locals and interbreeding, creating a new species of turtle.
So, while you may have a red-eared slider now, in the future you will have to apply to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for a free permit to possess the turtles. If you live in Florida and you own one, consider yourself lucky to do so.
(Photo courtesy of Elma Avdagic.)
CORRECTION: Thanks to reader Katrina, we’ve been informed that it was actually the sale of red-eared sliders that was banned in Florida due to their cross breeding with the native yellow-bellied sliders. Please see her comment below for the full details.