Roadside Turtle Vendors
How many times have you seen someone standing by the side of the road holding up a sign that says “BABY TURTLES FOR SALE”? Did you know that the roadside sale of turtles or any other animal is illegal in Arizona and Colorado?
Why Are We Involved?
Many of our patients are baby red-eared sliders, map turtles, other aquatic turtles, and sometimes tortoises that were acquired from roadside vendors. Many of these infant turtles and trotoises are suffering from malnutrition and infections even as the vendor is selling them! This happens because the turtles are often hatched and not provided proper homes with a good diet, clean water for aquatic turtles, proper warmth, and the right kind of UV light. We have seen turtles for sale on very cold days without any supplemental heat source (as illustrated above. Notice that the vendor is cold enough to have on a long-sleeved shirt!). On hot days the turtles may become overheated. Due to this sometimes inappropriate care, the turtles and tortoises may be sick at the time of purchase and do not do well for their new owners even though their new homes may be set-up correctly. Many roadside vendors also do not educate new owners on the proper care of the turtles they are purchasing. Sick baby turtles may blow bubbles out of its nose, have swollen runny eyes, float abnormally, or simply not move around.
Baby turtles for sale without water or warmth on a 50°F day.
If you have purchased a baby turtle from a roadside vendor, please have it examined by a veterinarian right away even if it appears to be healthy.