Please Only Buy Captive Bred Turtles and Tortoises


The purpose of this page and this printable leaflet is to provide reliable sources for individuals interested in purchasing captive bred turtle and tortoises.

Removing creatures from the wild for profit is one of the worst forms of vandalism; legal or not, it’s unethical. Do not support the commercial trade in wildlife by purchasing wild caught turtles. Buy only captive bred turtles and tortoises.

Prior to purchase please consider adoption. There are numerous turtle and tortoise rescue groups throughout the country who have all sorts of species available for adoption. We can place you in contact with them.


Why buy captive bred turtles and tortoises?

Unbelievable numbers of turtles and tortoises are removed from the wild each year for the pet trade. Two thirds of the world’s turtles are currently threatened or endangered and for many species their mass exploitation for use as pets has become a major conservation issue.

By purchasing only captive bred turtles and tortoises the buyer is not contributing to the continual decline of these gentle and lovable reptiles.

As a secondary benefit to purchasing captive bred animals from reputable breeders the buyer is assured of acquiring a healthy animal. Wild caught turtles and tortoises often support heavy populations of parasites and various diseases.


Some real issues!

Many dealers are passing off wild caught turtles and tortoises as captive bred individuals, while others being imported from foreign countries are labeled as captive bred when actually they were wild caught or hatched are from eggs removed from turtles butchered for food.

Some commercial farms are breeding turtles in mass for the pet trade (in this country mostly sliders and map turtles). The mass- produced turtles become disposable pets, and those that live are often later dumped into aquatic systems and compete and hybridize with native turtles and they can possibly spread exotic diseases into local waters. Consumer support of these operations is ill advised.

Imported turtles, and those farmed in mass, typically are exposed to extended periods of poor and inhumane treatment.

Dealers that supply both wild caught and captive bred turtles and tortoises are not contributing to conservation as profits from sales are frequently rolled over to purchase imported and locally wild caught species.

There are all types of legal issues with wild caught turtles. Different states and countries each have different laws and regulations which are frequently broken.

Purchasing directly from reputable private breeders removes any questions of doubt regarding the origin or legality of the purchase.


The reasons these particular turtle and tortoise breeders are recommended:

We personally know these private turtle and tortoise breeders to be reliable, honest, and that they sell only species they actually breed themselves. They all live in the United States so import permits are not needed. All sales are legal and none of the people recommended have ever been charged with breaking federal or state wildlife laws.

The turtles they sell and their parent stock are all housed in healthy and humane conditions. They all guarantee the health and condition of individuals sold, know shipping regulations, and pack turtles for shipment so that live arrival is guaranteed.  



(c) 2007 The Tortoise Reserve

List of Recommended Suppliers of Captive Bred Turtles and Tortoises

In that we anticipate that our list of suppliers and the species available will be forever growing, the contact information will be added to this page on an ongoing basis.


Note: For legal reasons some of these species will require permits, and some cannot be shipped out of state. The recommended breeders listed below will advise you regarding these issues. Individuals who do not ship are noted with an asterisk*


Sidenecks (Pleurodia)

Common snakeneck turtle, Chelodina longicollis (2)
Reimann’s snakeneck turtle, Chelodina reimanni (2) 
Branderhorst’s sideneck turtle, Elseya branderhorsti (2,6)
New Guinea sideneck turtle, Elseya novaeguineae (2,6) 
Schultze’s sideneck turtle, Elseya schultzei (2,6)
Krefft’s sideneck turtle, Emydura kreffti (2)
Macleay river turtle, Emydura macquarrii dharra (2)
Murray river turtle, Emydura macquarrii macquarrii (2,4)
Redbelly sideneck turtle, Emydura subglobosa (2,4,6) 
Gibba sideneck turtle, Mesoclemmys gibbus (2,6)
Parker’s snakeneck turtle, Macrochelodina parkeri (2,6) 
Siebenrock’s snakeneck turtle, Macrochelodina siebenrocki (2,6)
Geoffroy’s sideneck turtle, Phrynops geoffroanus (2)
Argentine sideneck turtle, Phrynops hilarii (2,6)
Common toad headed turtle, Phrynops nasuta (6)
Peter’s sideneck turtle, Phrynops tuberosus (2,6) 
Williams’ sideneck turtle, Phrynops williamsi (2)

Sidenecks (Pelomedusidae)

African helmeted turtle, Pelomedusa subrufa (6)
African mud turtle, Pelusios castaneus (2,6)
East African mud turtle, Pelusios sinuatus (4)


Softshell Turtles (Trionychidae)       

Senegal flapshell turtle, Cyclanorbis senegalensis (6)


Mud and Musk Turtles (Kinosternidae)

Striped mud turtle, Kinosternon baurii (2)
Creaser's mud turtle, Kinosternon creaseri (2)
Yellow mud turtle, Kinosternon flavascens  (2)
White-lipped mud turtle, Kinosternon leucostomum (6White-throated mud turtle, Kinosternon s. albogulare (6)
Red-cheeked mud turtle, Kinosternon s.  cruentatum (6)
Scorpion mud turtle, Kinosternon s. scorpioides (6)
Chiapas musk turtle, Staurotypus salvinii (6)
Mexican giant musk turtle, Staurotypus triporcatus (2,6)


Asian Pond Turtles (Geoemydidae)

Painted terrapin, Callagur borneoensis (6) 
Chinese big-headed pond turtle, Chinemys megalocephala (2)
Kwangtung river turtle, Chinemys nigricans (2)
Reeve’s turtle, Chinemys reevesi (2,6) 
Indonesian Cuora amboinensis amboinensis (4,6)
Suda box turtle, Cuora amboinensis cuoro (2)
Chinese box turtle, Cuora flavomarginata (2)
Chinese three-striped box turtle, Cuora trifasciata (4)
Asian leaf turtle, Cyclemys sp. (2)
Asian leaf turtle, Cyclemys dentata (4)
Asian giant wood turtle, Heosemys grandis (2)
Brown roofed turtle, Pangshura smithi (6)
Central American wood turtle, Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima manni (6)
Cochin black turtle, Melanochelys trijuga coronata (4)
Sri Lanka black turtle, Melanochelys trijuga thermallis (4)
Peninsular black turtle, Melanochelys trijuga trijuga  (4)
Annam pond turtle, Mauremys annamensis (2,4,6)
Caspian pond turtle, Mauremys caspica (4,6)
Japanese pond turtle, Mauremys japonica (2) 
Japanese yellow pond turtle, Mauremys mutica kami (2,4)
Chinese yellow pond turtle, Mauremys mutica mutica (2)
Thread turtle, Ocadia sinensis (2,6) 


North American Pond Turtles (Emydidae)

Western painted turtle, Chrysemys picta bellii (2,6)
Midland painted turtle, Chrysmeys picta marginata (2)
Eastern painted turtle. Chrysemys picta picta (2,6)
Spotted turtle, Clemmys guttata (2,5,6) 
Florida chicken turtle, Deirochelys reticularia chrysea (2)
Blanding’s turtle, Emydoidea blandingi (2)
Western pond turtle, Emys marmorata (2)
European pond turtle, Emys orbicularis ssp. (2,6)
North American wood turtle, Glyptemys insculpta (2,6)
Yellow-blotched sawback, Graptemys flavimaculata (2)
Cagle’s map turtle, Graptemys caglei (2)
Black-knobbed sawback, Graptemys nigrinoda nigrinoda (2)
Ringed sawback, Graptemys oculifera (2)
Texas map turtle, Graptemys versa (2) 
Rio Grande cooter, Pseudemys gorzugi (2,4)
Peninsular cooter, Pseudemys peninsularis (4)
Red-bellied cooter, Pseudemys rubriventris (4)
Texas cooter, Pseudemys texana (4)
Nicaraguan slider, Trachemys emolli (2)
Guatemalan slider, Trachemys venusta grayi (2)
Belize slider, Trachemys venusta venusta (2,4)        


Tortoises (Testudinidae)

Russian tortoise Agrionemys horsfieldii (6)
Redfoot tortoise, Chelonoidis carbonaria (2,5,6)
Cherryhead Red-footed Tortoise, Geochelone carbonaria (6)
Galapagos tortoise, Chelonoidid nigra (1)
Aldabra tortoise, Dipsochelys elephantine (1)
Indian star tortoise, Geochelone elegans (3)
Leopard tortoise, Geochelone pardalis babcocki (1,5)
Leopard tortoise, Geochelone pardalis paradilis (1)
Radiated tortoise Geochelone radiata (1,3)
African spur-thigh tortoise, Geochelone sulcata (1,2,5,6)
African spur-thigh tortoise (dark eyed albino ‘Ivory’) (5)
Elongated tortoise, Indotestudo elongata (2,5)
Forsten's tortoise, Indotestudo forsteni (6)
Burmese Brown Mountain Tortoise, Manouria emys emys (7)
Burmese Black Mountain Tortoise, Manouria emys phayeri (7)
Turkish spur-thighed tortoise, Testudo graeca ibera (6)
Golden Greek tortoise, Testudo graeca terrestris (6)
Eastern Hermann’s tortoise, Testudo hermanni boettgeri (1,2,5,6)
Marginated Tortoise, Testudo marginata (1,3,5)


Please Note:  Box Turtles, Russian Tortoises and Greek Tortoises*:

Nearly all adult box turtles (of any subspecies) and Russian tortoises available in pet stores or on the Internet are wild caught. While many states protect their native wildlife from collection, they fail to honor other states' wildlife protection laws.

If you want a box turtle for a pet, occasionally there are (usually young) captive bred box turtles and Russian tortoises available. Otherwise, please contact your local reptile rescue and adoption organization or herpetological society. Most have many box turtles available for adoption, be they former pets or turtles displaced by development. These animals need good homes and it is another way to avoid supporting trafficking of our native wildlife. We can help you find an adoption program if you have any difficulty.

*When purchasing Greek tortoises, please ask whether they are captive bred or wild caught.  While there are increasing numbers of captive breeders, unfortunately most adults sold in pet stores and via the Internet are wild caught.  Asking your local pet store to carry only captive bred animals may also help.


Recommended suppliers of captive bred turtles and tortoises:


1 - Captive Bred Wildlife Foundation
- - -Jeff & Kim Gee
- - -Arizona
- -
- -


2 - Paul Vander Schouw
- - -Florida
- -


3 - Ashton Biodiversity Research and Preservation Institute
- - -Florida
- -


4 - Dennis Uhrig
- - -Florida
- -


5 - Riparian Farms
- - -Richard Fife
- - -Arizona
- -


6 - Empire of the Turtle
- - -Eric Holt
- - -Florida
- -



---  Vic Morgan

---  Florida








Please Only Buy Captive Bred Turtles and Tortoises. For more information, see "Why Buy Captive Bred Tortoises" in our Research pages.

For more information or questions, contact us at: