fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Releasing pet turtles into the wild can be illegal

Are there any laws or regulations about releasing aquatic turtles into the wild? Someone I know has a turtle that's outgrown its tank and they need to give it a new home with some room. Maybe the ponds at the Denman Wildlife Area? Agate Lake? A local creek? Any ideas?

Tom C.

Eagle Point

Probably the best thing your pal can do is get a bigger tank, because darn near any other solution is illegal.

It is illegal to release any wildlife without a permit, and you won't get a permit to release a turtle into the wild unless it is a native Western pond turtle. Most pet-shop turtles are nonnatives, Tom.

Most of the nonnative turtles and bullfrogs you see along Bear Creek are there because someone has illegally introduced them.

In fact, dumping aquarium tanks — also illegal — has been so prevalent in the Rogue Valley that goldfish regularly show up in traps meant to catch juvenile steelhead in Bear Creek tributaries like Lazy and Larson creeks.

Several years ago, an angler at one of the Expo Ponds caught a piranha that had been dumped from an aquarium tank.

Introduced species can be nothing but trouble, Tom. They often can prey on native species and even out-compete native turtles for food and space.

So perhaps you should scan the MT's classified ads for a bigger tank, Tom, and help keep the area's wild habitat available for native critters.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.