Warning: painted turtle trade – potential threats to turtles and human

Baby red-eared sliders are pained with colourful star-shaped and flowers-shaped. Source: Facebook


Recently, painted Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) have been displayed and traded online in Vietnam. These baby turtles are painted with various colours, designs and patterns on their carapaces. However, the paint can exert fatal impacts on the turtles. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC), the paints can hinder the turtles’ ability to absorb vitamins they need from the sun, lead to respiratory problems, and possibly allow toxic chemicals [from the paint] into the bloodstream.

Although the baby turtles may appear cute and harmless, they pose potential risks to human. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that “Turtles commonly carry Salmonella bacteria on their outer skin and shell surfaces and can transfer Salmonella, causing serious infections in people.” In addition, the sellers can show no documents on the origin and veterinary certificate of the animals, which means buyers receive no assurance about their safety.

As an invasive species in Vietnam the Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) likely compete for food with native Vietnamese animals if released and the keeping, breeding or trading of this species in Vietnam is illegal under national law. So please consider the animal welfare, human health and laws before buying and keeping any animal as pet.

Date: 4th July 2018

By: The Asian Turtle Program Team

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