The Turtle Working Group


The northeastern U.S. is home to 67 species of reptiles.
● International pet trade & trafficking. Wealthy hobbyists around the globe will pay a lot of money for turtle species, and many Northeastern US turtle species are in high demand. Turtles are poached and smuggled; law enforcement has caught smugglers with hundreds of turtles. For more information and how you can help visit The Collaborative to Combat the Illegal Trade in Turtles and the PARC National Turtle Networking Team websites.

● Nest predation. Raccoons, opossums, skunks, and other mammals that depredate turtle nests are most numerous where humans leave outside and accessible garbage, pet food, and other things to eat. These subsidized predators dig up nests to feed on eggs, and eat hatchlings and, occasionally, adult turtles.

Northeastern U.S. turtles are active in the warmer months of the year.
● Invasive species. Red-eared sliders are not native in most Northeastern states, except for West Virginia where they are at the eastern edge of their native range. Red-eared sliders are commonly purchased as hatchlings in the pet trade. Most consumers are unaware that they become quite large as adults and can live up to 30 years, which results in a large number of unwanted adult turtles that are difficult to rehome and cannot be released into the wild. Many have been illegally released and present a potential threat to native wild turtles, because they can carry disease and may outcompete wild turtles for resources.p>

● Infectious diseases. Turtles are susceptible to a number of infectious respiratory and other diseases. New infectious diseases can be introduced into wild populations when people release infected pet turtles or when proper field decontamination protocols are not followed. For information on decontamination protocols click here.

Emerging Diseases Working Group



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Northeast Partners in Amphibian & Reptile Conservation is fiscally sponsored by the Amphibian & Reptile Conservancy a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit.