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In 1975, the FDA published a regulation under the Public Health Service Act that banned the sale and other distribution of small turtles to prevent the spread of turtle-associated salmonellosis, especially to young children:

Except as otherwise provided in this section, viable turtle eggs and live turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches shall not be sold, held for sale, or offered for any other type of commercial or public distribution.

Exceptions. The provisions of this section are not applicable to:
    (1)  The sale, holding for sale, and distribution of live turtles and viable turtle eggs for bona fide scientific, educational, or

          exhibitional purposes, other than use as pets.
    (2)  The sale, holding for sale, and distribution of live turtles and viable turtle eggs not in connection with a business.
    (3)  The sale, holding for sale, and distribution of live turtles and turtle eggs intended for export only, provided that the

          outside of the shipping package is conspicuously labeled "for export only."

The 4 inch Turtle Law


Alligator Snapping Turtle
Macrochelys temminckii (United States of America)
Fujian Pond Turtle
Mauremys iversoni (China)
Chineese Big-headed Pond Turtle
Mauremys megalocephala (China)
Pritchard's Pond Turtle
Mauremys pritchardiI (China)
Reeve's Turtle
Mauremys reevesii (China)
Chineese Stripe-necked Turtle
Mauremys sinensis (China)
Guangxi Stripe-necked Turtle
Ocadia glyphistoma (China)
Philippen's striped turtle
Ocadia philippeni (China)
Chinese false-eyed turtle
Sacalia pseudocellata (China)
Map Turtles
Graptemys spp. (United States of America

In the case of trade from a State that included the species in Appendix III, an export permit issued by the Management Authority of that State is required. This may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained and, in the case of a live animal or plant, if it will be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment. In the case of export from any other State, a certificate of origin issued by its Management Authority is required. In the case of re-export, a re-export certificate issued by the State of re-export is required.

CITES listed Appendix III turtles are as follows:

Appendix III
This Appendix contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade. Changes to Appendix III follow a distinct procedure from changes to Appendices I and II, as each Party’s is entitled to make unilateral amendments to it.