Pet Travel – Red-Eared Slider Turtle Ban in the UK

red eared slider turtleFor owners of red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans), pet travel regulations regarding this turtle when entering the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU will be affected after the EU Commission published its new list of species of EU wide concern, as part of the Invasive Alien Species Regulation. This regulation was mandated into EU law on the January 1, 2015, came into practice in the UK and the EU on August 16, 2016.

In order to qualify for inclusion on the list, a species must be non-native to the country, have the ability to thrive in the environment and also pose a risk for the ecosystems that exist in the country.

This breed of turtle is included on the list of invasive species and owners must submit to additional regulations.? An import license is also required for pet owners looking to import red eared slider turtles.

Owners of this species who reside in the UK can keep their turtle; however, it is illegal to import, breed, sell or rehome it. Also, it is very illegal to release it to the wild.

These regulations may pose a problem for owners of this turtle when they need to relocate. Because shelters and rescue organizations are subject to these regulations, they cannot rehome these turtles either, so surrender options may be difficult.

It remains to be seen how Brexit will affect the UK laws on invasive species and whether they will be adopted as they are written.

Find the regulations regarding EU invasive alien species here.


Comments

Pet Travel – Red-Eared Slider Turtle Ban in the UK — 30 Comments

  1. Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your response, I appreciate that you have taken the time.

    I have just checked on this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/invasive-non-native-alien-animal-species-rules-in-england-and-wales#list
    And it looks like red-eared sliders are still on the banned list. On the link that you shared it doesn’t specify the turtle there so not a hundred percent sure if they are banned or not. To be honest, I find the site quite confusing and seem to be going around in circles on it and not actually coming up with anything definitive.

    I wonder if you know anyone that has successfully relocated with their turtle into the UK?

    Thank you!

  2. Hi Susan,

    I have read on your comments that the ban to bring in Red-Eared Sliders has been lifted. Are you able to point me in the direction to see this in writing? I contacted Apha and was told to them contact sites to find out the necessary permits and documentation needed. CITES have just emailed me and said that as per the Invasive Species Act 2019, they are on the banned list so we cannot bring our turtle with us when we relocated from Hong Kong in June. When I checked the sites they were classes as non native species but nothing really stipulated that they were banned. I would greatly appreciate any advice on this matter as we are now down to the final months which I need to secure the correct permits etc.

    Thank you.

  3. Please could I ask if anyone has had any recent experience bringing a red eared terrapin to the UK? Just a single family pet. Thanks!

  4. Hi, I will move to Uk from Turkey and I have 2 red eared slider turtle. How can I bring them with me ?

  5. Elena – this species is not covered by CITES regulations; however, it may be on the list of invasive species and may require a license to import to the UK. You should contact pettravel@apha.gov.uk to inquire about regulations to import your turtles.
    Susan

  6. Hello, I have two yellow bellied turtles (Trachemys scripta scripta) and do you know if I can get them to the UK with me if I travel there?

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