Posted in animals on August 15, 2004

Chinatown turtles

Anyone who's walked through Chinatown at least once, has probably noticed the buckets of miniature, baby turtles for sale. This cruel practice of shoving too many (soon to be dead) turtles in a bucket is not only disgusting, it's illegal. Don't support the turtle sellers. Leave the turtles there.

If you really want a turtle, you can adopt one who actually lived long enough to be abandoned.

The Chicago Sun Times reported today:

"Rescue groups say that, along with New York's Chinatown, Myrtle Beach is one of the largest sources for illegal turtles sold on the East Coast.

Myrtle Beach police recently raided five beachwear stores and seized 200 red-eared sliders, which found a new home at Alligator Adventure in North Myrtle Beach.

Federal law prohibits the sale of any turtle with a shell smaller than 4 inches. The law was written to prevent the spread of salmonella to small children but conservationists say it also protects the turtles."

Story Link:
Groups urge restraint in buying illegal turtles

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Comments (102)

i walk through chinatown atleast 5 times and iv never seen them...what streets are they most popular on???

Posted by mand | July 18, 2005 8:59 AM

OMy... I just bought some last night because they looked so helpless... I was told people buy them in droves to eat them so I felt the urge to buy them, I had never seen them before yesterday. Thanks for the information though.

Posted by Nelle | August 10, 2005 11:40 AM

I bought two of them like three weeks ago they were freazin they looked kind of white, I didn't know it was ilegal but I just could't help it, they were almost death, they stiil alive and look pretty happy to me, they weren't eating but I put them in a warm place, and put some sand in a small square fish tank with a little warm water and a flat rock so they can get out of the water,and two days later they were eating, now they look alert and they keep their little heads out of the shell stretching their necks.

Posted by Angela | December 3, 2005 10:59 PM

My girlfriend was enthralled with them and felt very sympathetic. She coaxed me to buy two of the little guys, but I was eager to get 'em anyway. Today I looked up all their info... these suckers get up to the size of shoe boxes.. O_O. Well, we bought 'em and are attatched, they have great personalities, so we'll stick it out to the end. If their's anyone in the city with a 20+ long gallon tank up for grabs, I'll be glad to take it off your hands. Or if you know of a place where I can get it discounted. Any help is appreciated, thanks :) Just Email Me. (Named them Thor and Psy )

Posted by Mookie | April 20, 2006 5:07 PM

Fuck! The size of a shoe box? What the hell am I gonna do with two turtles the size of a friggin' shoe box?!?

Posted by penguin420 | June 1, 2006 1:43 AM

I bought my boyfriend two of those turtles back in August. Today one of them died, the other one is still very much alive.
For anyone that wants to know, if the turtles shell starts to get soft he's dying.
RIP Herman (that was the turtles name)

Posted by Brittany | June 25, 2006 12:24 AM

I bought some turtles from Chinatown... they weren't eating either.. but my girlfriend and i gave them some raw fish and they are ok now.. we placed them in a plastic tank and one end has deeper water than the other. Raphayel and Sweetie are super!

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2006 11:04 PM

Hello..i would love to have a little turtle..is there anywhere i can get one thats not illigal? i really want one... please help me find one.. i live in bc though.

Posted by Aly | July 20, 2006 6:32 PM

thats not right turtles dieing in a bucket they should stop doing this!!!!!

Posted by isaac martinez | August 15, 2006 9:44 PM

thats not right turtles dieing in a bucket they should stop doing this!!!!!

Posted by isaac martinez | August 15, 2006 9:44 PM

Red Slider turtles are still illegal yet still for sale in Myrtle Beach. We were there mid August this year and saw them at several stores. I contacted City Council which was responsive yet unaware of the continued sale.

Posted by Coyote | August 23, 2006 5:52 PM

I just bought a baby turtle for my daughter at a store in surf city south carolina. The sales person at the beach wear store in Myrtle Beach sent us to the sister store in surf city because the turtles a had been banned in Myrtle Beach. Had I known all the info and known the reason they had been banned I would not have purchased it. I have learned from another site they are carriers of salmonella and children are at higher risk from contracting it from the baby turtles.

Posted by chestina | August 27, 2006 9:01 AM

my friend just bought me one today for my birthday, and i'm not quite sure what to do with it...
can I release it, or should i keep it until it passes on? :?

Posted by giz | August 27, 2006 10:21 PM

I bought 4 of them in chicago for 10 bucks a piece. They arnt eating but they keep trying to eat the plastic plants i got for decoration. I always wanted a turtle and this shop only had 4 out of the whole china town. We will see if they survive...

Posted by Jojo | August 29, 2006 1:28 AM

I just bought a baby turtle in Myrtle Beach this past weekend. We had no idea it was illegal. There are signs everywhere at the BeachWear stores but only actually had them. Our babysitter that went with us bought one also. He isnt eating much but we just moved him to a bigger tank and hope that will help with making him happy. We named him Jaws.

Posted by Allison | August 30, 2006 10:11 PM

i bought one at myrtle beach i diddnt know he was illegal until i saw this site but anyways i havent seen him eat yet and i got him early last week i'm worried he's going to die i'll be heartbroken he also likes to just sit in the same spot on his shells out of the water isnt he souposed to swim? :( please help me with my turtle and chris is finally getting attached i named him ninja hes already part of the fam!

Posted by Kristin | October 7, 2006 12:48 PM

If anyone has a turtle/turtles they can no longer look after, or wants to adopt a turtle, go here http://www.turtlehomes.org/.
Please don't buy them!!! This just keeps the industry going, which means that millions of the little guys die either in the revolting farms from where they come, or during transit, or whilst sitting in dishes or buckets on the side walk, or when they get home and people don't know how to look after them properly and don't give them what they need. If you have turtles, read up on them - they need heat lamps to bask in, otherwise they will die.

Posted by Claudia | October 9, 2006 4:13 PM

Can someone mail me about 5
Please my turtle sunny eastern painted baby needs another baby turtle because his friends i had to get rid of because they were snappers. sunny hasn't been acting right ever since. i usually feed him grass hoppers, and reptomin floating food stix. i condition his water w/ reptisafe.
i sill don't know whether he is a he or a she. i am basically broke at the moment but i live in Connecticut and am very desperate. i swear whoever lets me have or sells me thier turtle i will take care of it. i am looking for something VERY cheap, (don't forget i am almost broke) i don't want a RES or a box turtle or a tortoise. Remember i am only looking for babies i will take the top amount (3) or (4)
savannah frogannad@aol.com
ps. I built sunny his own exercise room.


Posted by Savannah | October 13, 2006 7:00 PM

sorry i am so despreat i still feel really bad for them Nobody diserves to die like that though
any1 live in CT

Posted by Savannah | October 13, 2006 7:05 PM

i just bought two of them. i didnt know i shouldnt have. they arent eating. what should i feed them so they dont die. please help

Posted by rachael | October 23, 2006 8:56 PM

I just bought two little ones this weekend for my stepdaughter, one is a boy and one is a girl. How do you determine if they are snapping Turtles? I am very nervous about the diseases that they carry, it was an impulse buy, of course my step daughter looking at me with her puppy dog eyes did not help much....we love the little fellas but I wont let her touch them because as soon as we got home I started to do research on the computer and did not realize how serious these diseases are, how concerned shoul i be? fafa414@yahoo.com

Posted by Heather | October 30, 2006 3:08 PM

I just bought two little ones this weekend for my stepdaughter, one is a boy and one is a girl. How do you determine if they are snapping Turtles? I am very nervous about the diseases that they carry, it was an impulse buy, of course my step daughter looking at me with her puppy dog eyes did not help much....we love the little fellas but I wont let her touch them because as soon as we got home I started to do research on the computer and did not realize how serious these diseases are, how concerned shoul i be? fafa414@yahoo.com

Posted by Heather | October 30, 2006 3:09 PM

I just bought two little ones this weekend for my stepdaughter, one is a boy and one is a girl. How do you determine if they are snapping Turtles? I am very nervous about the diseases that they carry, it was an impulse buy, of course my step daughter looking at me with her puppy dog eyes did not help much....we love the little fellas but I wont let her touch them because as soon as we got home I started to do research on the computer and did not realize how serious these diseases are, how concerned shoul i be? fafa414@yahoo.com

Posted by Heather | October 30, 2006 3:10 PM

I just bought two little ones this weekend for my stepdaughter, one is a boy and one is a girl. How do you determine if they are snapping Turtles? I am very nervous about the diseases that they carry, it was an impulse buy, of course my step daughter looking at me with her puppy dog eyes did not help much....we love the little fellas but I wont let her touch them because as soon as we got home I started to do research on the computer and did not realize how serious these diseases are, how concerned shoul i be? fafa414@yahoo.com

Posted by Heather | October 30, 2006 3:10 PM

I can't believe how many people completely missed the point of this post.

Posted by birdboy | December 1, 2006 11:23 PM

i bought two of them in chinatown but i feel bad after i read this article..one of them is ok but the other one doesn't eat anything for 2 months!!(i feed repto min)..they both alive but they always sleep like whole time!! i'm so worry about them! is anything wrong with them ? or they usually hide in winter?..please email me

Posted by anitta | December 4, 2006 2:34 PM

I just got two like a month ago. We had them in a big tupperware full of water which I changed everyday but even at room temperature, the turtles are cold and they won't eat. They're also pretty idle. They sort of hibernate. Once i got a big tank, put in nice rocks for them to climb on, filter, and also a heater (very important - set at 80 degrees) they are super happy. They eat like crazy too. Just sprint a couple of those turtle food pellets in there. its really cool to watch them eat too.

I do have a spare tank (I got one off of craisglist but it apparently came with two). I'm not sure ho wmany gallons it is. Its liek the size of a compute monitor so its good enough for them at this size anyway. If anyone wants it, shoot me an email. You'd have to pick it up. I'm in bedstuy in Brooklyn.

So for everyone who has turtles who aren't happy or eating, please please please make sure they have clean watre, filter, AND esp a heater. I actually got the supplies in Chinatown where the prices were great. A heater usually goes for a bit of money. I got it for $17 there.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=win+tropical+aquarium,+nyc&ie=UTF8&z=15&ll=40.722055,-74.001546&spn=0.016588,0.025363&om=1&iwloc=A

Posted by Sia | December 4, 2006 3:21 PM

oops didn't realize this site doesn't list email. Mine is seamonsta@gmail.com if anyone needs a tank.

Posted by Sia | December 4, 2006 3:23 PM

why are my turtles backs soft?

Posted by Anonymous | January 2, 2007 3:55 PM

i actually brought one from myrtle beach seven months ago...i didn't know they were illegal either nor did i how much work they required. i spent alot of money as well. everytime i thought i was doing good with Mr.Turtle, he(althought now it think it's a "she")would stop eating. i got a filter and a heater and now he eats and all the time, but he doesn;t get out of the water to bask...ever!! the basking light i had broke so i've been using a reg light they use for fish tanks he's growing, but he's small and i have him in a ten gallon tank so he can swim around. his shell has patches of white spots, but it is no way near soft. what should i do to get him to bask? i work and go to school so i don't have time to watch him for hours to make sure he sits under the light and not in the water. i grew attached and i want him/her to live a long time, am i on the right track?

Posted by Toray | January 9, 2007 10:36 PM

I bought i turtle off of canal street because i felt really bad for him.

I've had him for about 5 months now, and he is perfectly healthy.

He enjoys eating salmon catfood, or tuna fish. He also really like lettuce. I also had the problem of him not eating, when he was in the smaller tank, but once i switched him to a 30gallon tank with a heater, he got much happier and his eating habbits changed for the better.

I wish i would have known, how many turtles die in the process of buying the illegal turtles in New York. It is very sad. I dont have no regrets in buying my turtle, because i love him very much... but I do know that what i go to buy him a friend i will not be supporting this cruelty and now that i know i will be adopting a turtle from http://www.turtlehomes.org/.

Posted by Autumn | February 8, 2007 1:25 PM

p.s

the the person who asked why your turtles backs are soft..

soft shells are one of the signs of a dying turtle. Please get your turtle in some heat.

Posted by Autumn | February 8, 2007 1:26 PM

p.s

the the person who asked why your turtles backs are soft..

soft shells are one of the signs of a dying turtle. Please get your turtle in some heat.

Posted by Autumn | February 8, 2007 1:26 PM

p.s

the the person who asked why your turtles backs are soft..

soft shells are one of the signs of a dying turtle. Please get your turtle in some heat.

Posted by Autumn | February 8, 2007 1:26 PM

I really really really want a turtle. I want a way to get one so it's not illegal. Please help me find a turtle! But I live in NJ.

Posted by Grey | February 21, 2007 5:36 PM

Do Eastern Painted Turtles have Salmonella?

Posted by Grey | February 21, 2007 6:09 PM

i love turtles

Posted by Jenna | April 3, 2007 7:36 PM

i love turtles

Posted by Jenna | April 3, 2007 7:36 PM

These little guys are Red Eared Sliders. There is a book you can buy all about them. They are aquatic turtles that need special light bulbs that emit UVA and UVB mock the rays of the sunlight and keep their shells hard. They also need a heat lamp with a dry dock underneath it. You need to keep their water clean and feed them pellets, fish, and whatever else you can get them to eat. My turtle I bought in NYC and three years later, Scratch is going strong. At first I just kept her in a plastic tub and changed the water myself and kept the proper bulbs over it. Now it has slowly emerged to a tank. Make sure you do your homework if you have one of these little guys. Theres a lot to learn but once they are in a happy environment they become quite cute and if you buy a filter to clean the water they can be very low maintenece.

Posted by Andrea | April 14, 2007 3:25 PM

Wow, it's amazing how those idiots are selling those poor turtles that way. Turtles deserve to be sold in a special way. Not sold in a stupid bucket! Turtles shouldn't be pilled on top of each other like that either! Once again, they need their own personal space.

Posted by jill and maddi | April 15, 2007 1:24 PM

am i the only one who buys these turtles for food? i mean come on, throw on a little butter and cayenne pepper - they're delicious!

Posted by Anonymous | April 15, 2007 2:27 PM

i bought two baby turtles (not knowing how horrible the buisness was) in chinatown 6 months back. for three months or so, they didnt eat, and i had no idea what to do. i didnt think they could swim deep, so i had them in a peice of tubaware with a centimeter of water. i know, i'm dumb. so, eventually i realized i was killing the little guys, and i went to the store. i got them a heat lamp, a filter, a UV light, and a little floating dock. they seemed ALOT happier, especailly in more water! however, they still refused to eat. i bought every different type of food, and i eventually found that they LOVE jumbo-krill(not alive). i'm actually feeding one of the little dudes right now. i love them very much. if anyone has questions about how to start off with new baby turtles (dont go out and buy them from chinatown, buy them off a turtle adoption site), just email me at Clearblueskyz@aol.com

Posted by viv | April 28, 2007 6:44 PM

Hey!! i just got a turtle from a friend who got 3 from China town ...my turtle seems preety happy...i didnt kno about the heater thing or that they were illegally being sold like that..but i think ima buy a heater now cuz i did notice he likes warm water..he gets all happy n starts swimming..(its really cute) but he doesnt seem to like a lot of water..is that normal? cuz if i put more water than usual it seems like he struggles to stick his head out...i just put enough to cover him... n yes i change his water everyday...n how do u kno what kind of turtle u have? n if they carry salmonella?...help me out guys!!..n about the boy girl thing...i was told the girls are darker then the boys..hey i could of been told wrong!

Posted by Lyna | April 28, 2007 10:25 PM

I recently purchased one from a chinese man. Im assuming he came to the Island from Chinatown & was selling them. Im an animal lover and couldnt refuse to buy one for 15 dollars.
He is growing BUT they do require A LOT of work! You need the proper foods & lighting especially while theyre little & always make sure theyre living in a clean environment! If not this may lead to softshell (the softening of the shell) and they can and most likely will die from this if not treated. REMEMBER! dont release them into the wild if you decide you no longer want a turtle as a pet.

Posted by Gina | May 25, 2007 1:20 AM

I bought 2 turtles from a lady who sells them in frront of the S.I. ferry on the Manhattan side. At first I though they weren't eating but turns out I just never caught them in the act since my sister tells me she seen them eat. I didn't want to feed the just the turtle pallet so I've been trying to feed them a bunch of food and turns out they like tuna fish and lettus. It's too bad but one of the turtle died after like 2 weeks and I'm hoping the other one live a lot longer.

Posted by Anonymous | May 25, 2007 1:59 PM

I didnt know it was illegal either! I bought mine last year in the beginning of July! I loved it SOOOO much!! Recently, on Memorial Day, he died. His name was Bingo. Yes, his shell was soft! D= I am totally heartbroken! I found out that he was dead at night and I burst into tears! Yes, these Chinatown box turtles are VERY loveable! I miss Bingo!!

Posted by Keely | June 1, 2007 10:49 PM

How long can these Chinatown box turtles really live? Mines, Bingo, was almost 1 yr old, n i didnt buy it a tank, etc. I had no clue!

Posted by Keely | June 1, 2007 11:10 PM

Every year in the same beachware place in Myrtle Beach, it has the outside appearence of a large shark's head. they have a baby pool full of turtles. No one every seems to mind. Is it really that bad because I always want to buy two but never felt I knew enough about their care. The place is very noticable and even has this shark tank inside

Posted by jo | June 5, 2007 12:49 PM

"Why 4 inches and is it illegal for me to own my baby turtle?"


There are a few reasons for the law stating that the turtle needs to be 4 inches or larger for sale as a pet. Some of the reasons are far-fetched, but they were believed at te time. All of which were based on salmonella poisoning. Children of those days were allowed to play with the little hatchling turtles. Kids are kids and they do what kids do - they put whatever they are playing with in their mouths. Not the best idea, but again, kids are kids. So these little turtles fit nicely in the mouths of young kids and thus assisted in the spreading of germs and bacteria. It seems the parents would rather blame the turtle for their child being sick, when in fact, they should have been paying closer attention to their kids and their turtles. Another reason is that before we understood that salmonella was an important part of their gut bacteria, it was believed that if turtles lived to be 4 inches, then they had survived salmonella and were thus salmonella-free. We now know this to be false.

It is not illegal to OWN a turtle under 4" in length; it is illegal to SELL a turtle less than 4" as a PET. Key word..."pet". This is why it is legal to purchase them from breeders and dealers on the internet who support the "hobby" as opposed to pet stores which sell the turtles as "pets". There is a great debate in the courts and hobby of turtle keeping, and one that will probably continue for years down the road. You can read about this law here.

You can read more about it here...

http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Info/info.htm

Posted by Glenn Malabo | June 13, 2007 6:10 PM

I LIKE THE PICTURES ON HERE. I LIKE TO MOSH IN YOUR IN PIT. ANY GOOD BANDS COMING TO NEWYORK?

Posted by MGRAHAM | July 7, 2007 10:43 PM

i am going to get one of the turtles there so cute and tiny and my freind has one and all you have to do is wash your hands when your done touching them she had hers for a year already and she or her kids never got sick from them

Posted by Lindsey | July 17, 2007 11:28 AM

i am going to get one of the turtles there so cute and tiny and my freind has one and all you have to do is wash your hands when your done touching them she had hers for a year already and she or her kids never got sick from them

Posted by Lindsey | July 17, 2007 11:28 AM

i am going to get one of the turtles there so cute and tiny and my freind has one and all you have to do is wash your hands when your done touching them she had hers for a year already and she or her kids never got sick from them

Posted by Lindsey | July 17, 2007 11:28 AM

i am going to get one of the turtles there so cute and tiny and my freind has one and all you have to do is wash your hands when your done touching them she had hers for a year already and she or her kids never got sick from them

Posted by Lindsey | July 17, 2007 11:28 AM

i am going to get one of the turtles there so cute and tiny and my freind has one and all you have to do is wash your hands when your done touching them she had hers for a year already and she or her kids never got sick from them

Posted by Lindsey | July 17, 2007 11:28 AM

i am going to get one of the turtles there so cute and tiny and my freind has one and all you have to do is wash your hands when your done touching them she had hers for a year already and she or her kids never got sick from them

Posted by Lindsey | July 17, 2007 11:28 AM

i want one free i love turles ship one to me with a cage

Posted by deandre | August 2, 2007 9:33 PM

Ok. I don't suggest buying one, but if you did and don't know how to take care of it, they are fairly simple. They need a tank with at least a few inches of warm water, and plenty of room for them to swim around. They also need somewhere dry to get out of the water, with a heat lamp overhead fro them to bask in. They may not eat at first, but keep offering them food, and as long as you are keeping them in good conditions they should eventually eat.

Posted by Mike | August 24, 2007 2:27 PM

I think the president should make this illegal. Well I actually have 2 big turtles and 1 normal sized. I bought my 2 big turtles in 8/2001, which means I already have 6 years with them. But with the smaller one, I only have like 2.5 years. When I got the small turtle, it was like 2 inches and right now is like almost 6 inches. I feed my turtles small crunchy marbles made of fish and shrimp. And yeah...I want and I hope my turtles live longer than me ;).

Posted by OFC | October 31, 2007 11:05 PM

hi i always see the turltes there and their always in the cages and their like overflowing with them and i feel really bad for them how can u stop them from doing that besides not buying them? where are they getting the turltes from?

Posted by gina | December 21, 2007 10:47 AM

I WILL SAVE THESE TURTLES!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by BAMchickaWAWA | April 10, 2008 12:32 PM

the turtles that we brought back n august died today/ =[

FUCK those who sold us those turtles!!!!!!!!!
RIP timmy

Posted by asiankid | April 18, 2008 6:05 PM

I went to New York yesterday w my girlfriend and she wined and wined until I bought the last two lonely turtles sitting at this guys stand. I really did'nt want to deal w more animals in my home but when one turtle went out of his way to show he had character(ziggy), I was sold. Ziggy is mine and we named the other turtle Terp.We are already getting attached to the little guys.

Posted by Anonymous | April 27, 2008 8:52 AM

well, for those of you with children and baby turtles, EVERYONE should wash their hands before and after handling the turtles. you really need to read up on these animals before buying them, a lot of people buy them because they think that they are cheap gifts for easy pets for children but they are not!!!! they need lots of care, just like a dog or a cat. they have needs that must be met! if not, they will die.

Posted by Jessica | May 14, 2008 9:15 PM

It's horrid how many turtles are being killed by this illegal act. I'm going to get my turtle at Petsmart(hopefully that will be better) and I want to get a Red Ear Slider. I've looked up all the info needed except I couldn't seem to find anything about letting your RES out of water...(I know about keeping a floating log, but would it be o.k. if I take it outside once and a while for some UVA, UVB?)
Please reply

Posted by Chloe | August 7, 2008 12:43 AM

let turtles live in their natural enviroment.. please adopt a cat or a dog and keep it for life (which can be 16 years or more)

Posted by Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:13 AM

I-SPEAK, International Society for the Protection of Exotic Animal Kind and Livestock, Inc
998-C Old Country Road, Suite 142, Plainview, NY 11803 (516) 935-4607 ispeakinc@aol.com

Would be interested in knowing of any locations selling baby turtles.

Posted by I-SPEAK | August 11, 2008 8:05 PM

well guys its not illegal to buy em its illegal to sell them...

Posted by nick | October 18, 2008 10:14 PM

hey anyone know on what streets in chicago's china town i can find some baby turtles? i know how to take care of them i have a basking light and a fairly large tank that will be perfect for them so i want some.. let me know!

Posted by Angie | October 23, 2008 7:06 AM

aww. i really want to help them now. someone do something. how can i adopt one or even buy one. i want to save them little guys. :) please tell me i want to help them and i really want one.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2009 6:08 PM

The Chinatown in Los Angeles is illegally selling baby turtles, just like New York...

Posted by Alissa and Cameron | March 29, 2009 4:28 AM

i just bought a turtle from canal st (china town) last night it was 5 dollars but i had to give it clean water cause the water she gave me was dirty and it didnt eat anything but today its eating and always trying to climb out his tank lol its so cute im trying so hard to keep it clean i have another tank just so he can eat his food in there so he wont dirty the tank he sleeps in im washing him in warm water and a soft sponge to prevent diseases before i put him back in his tank everytime and i also wear gloves because i googled the diseases turtles can carry and humans can get it if contacted so i am very careful...other than that he is soo cute!

Posted by vanessa | June 8, 2009 7:19 PM

I think that they shouldn't put those little baby
turtles in there.

Posted by Breanna | September 19, 2009 12:01 PM

I bought a turtle at a game stand in coney island not knowing anything about them.She now lives in a beautiful pond ecosystem I made for her in my apartment, with many gallons of water to swim in, land to bask on and a special reptile heat lamp. (the h2o needs to be filtered and heated and if there are fish you need an air bubbler or they will all die, and it is essential that you get a reptile lamp and not just a light bulb bc reg. bulbs will not provide the animal with the required UV light that helps them process food and calcium....soft shells are from calcium deficiency, pet stores carry "turtle bones" which is a piece of cuttle bone that floats in the water which the turtle can eat...although little turtles may need you to break it into smaller pieces for them.. water heaters can be bought for as low as $10- higher depending on how many gallons you're working with, and air bubblers cost only 10 if you get a small one..the filter's gonna be like 30, but you owe it to your turtle to provide it with a good health and good home). My tank is full of many large and healthy edible aquatic plants that are supplemented with greens like basil and cilantro, which she loves to rip apart herself and eat, cooked zuccini, the occasional broccoli floret and carrot shaving(always check if the foods you are giving your turlte can be consumed by the animal, certain foods should only be eaten sparingly for the animals health). There are many fish that live in her pond, bought for her to eat bc baby turltes are very carnivorous, but if the turtle has enough food supplimented by you(ie the occasional finely chopped bite of chicken, shrimp, brine shrimp etc combined with fresh veggies and store made turtle food pellets, it wont need to resort to catching and eating fish. The pet trade is sad, but if you, like me, have already unknowingly supported it, you can give your turtle a very long and fulfilling life just by learning a bit more about it's natural rhythms and needs. Pauline(thats her name ) is growing beautifully and her originally soft shell has hardened and grown like crazy. She is a beautiful very aware and alert amazing creature.

Posted by Sue | December 31, 2009 12:13 PM

If you're planning to get a turtle, and you don't have little children around, they make great pets to be honest. Salmonella is very easy to prevent if you are careful enough. All you have to do is wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the turtles. But before getting one, you have to be sure you afford a big enough tank for them. When they are full sized, you'll probably need a minimum of 100 gallons.

Posted by Lily | April 6, 2010 1:30 PM

ive had my turtle for a year and he wasnt eating either. i tried veggies and fish and turtle pelets and it wouldnt eat but then i fed him fish flakes and he loves them :)

Posted by sandy | May 19, 2010 10:02 PM

I bought my turtle, Fluffy (I know, I'm silly) in Chinatown about four years ago. I actually got two turtles, Fluffy and Fred. They lived together for about 6 months before Fred died. Fluffy, however has turned out to be the greatest pet ever. I have him in about a 20 gallon tank now. I started him out in a 10 gallon aquarium designed for fish, but I eventually got a 20 gallon tank specifically for reptiles. He grew very fast his first two years or so but the growth has slowed down. He's probably about 5-6 inches now, but I haven't noticed any changes in his growth the last year. He has turned into a very fun, low maintenance pet. I feed him turtle pellets (I bought a bulk container about 2 years ago for $12 and I'm only halfway through it) and the occasional feeder fish or two. It took me a couple of years to get all of the right equipment for his tank... I was a poor college student, so I only bought one iterm at a time, and since I want to keep Fluffy with me for a long time, I regularly update all of his equipment to make sure it is running properly. The most consistent expense of turtle care I would say is buying replacement filter cartriges; but all in all, I probably have spent $3-400 on him since I've owned him (that's including food, his tank(s), filters, heaters, etc). That may seem like a lot, but over the course of four years, that is really not much at all. Certainly less than a dog or a cat will cost.

Turtles are actually quite hardy animals. Fluffy has been with me through four moves (one of them across the country), has flown on an airplane. He's been a good pet for someone with a crazy college student life in that he doesn't require a lot of maintenance and he provides a lot of fun. And my friends think he's cool which makes me cool by default.

All that said, I'm not saying that I condone buying or selling turtles this way. I, too didn't know it was illegal when I bought him (he and Fred were $5 total); and I didn't find out until I tooh him to the pet store to figure out supplies. But he has been a wonderful pet.

For those of you worried about Salmonella, honestly, just use common sense precautions and you'll be fine. Turtles like to be touched, and children just need to be watched, and they need to wash their hands with soap after handling them. But most people would instruct a child to do that after touching any animal, not just a turtle. If you have a thumb-sucking toddler and you leave the turtle within reach of the kid and do not watch, maybe you'll have a problem. But I don't think most of you need to worry about it.

Posted by Laura | July 7, 2010 12:41 PM

i agree with laura on the last part about slamonella. It is easy to prevent. All you have to do is wash your hand after and before handling the turtle. Don't put the turtle on carpet or anything that may catch the salmonella.

i've had my chinatown turtles for over 4 years and they're healthy. sometimes i'm too busy to even feed them and they still love me. turtles are great pets..

btwlaura. 20 gallons isn't enough.

Posted by lily | July 11, 2010 1:56 PM

If you really want a turtle, even a baby turtle, try looking through www.petfinder.com or check to see if your local animal shelter ever gets them in. Turtle societies and herpetological socities (such as the California Turtle & Tortoise Society) often have them for adoption.

Here's a care sheet for sliders:
http://www.matts-turtles.org/docs/AquaticTurtleCare.pdf

A good website to chat with other keepers is www.turtleforum.com

If you see baby turtles sold in tourist areas or flea markets, please report it to the regional Food and Drug Administration office (FDA), and your local health department and state wildlife agency. In some states it's illegal to even have a baby turtle - or any turtle - without a permit.

Posted by Katrina | August 26, 2010 5:45 PM

I bought a turtle at one of the shops at Mytrle Beach 9 years ago and he is doing great. His name is Sam and he has grown unbelievable. He loves to get in the bathtub and swim .We feed him Tetra ReptroMin floating food sticks.You can hand feed them just like any other pet.

Posted by mvaught | September 5, 2010 8:21 PM

I am so nervous now. My grandmother raised a turtle in china and said it was real easy, and they have this reputation there for being easy to raise. My sister has always wanted a pet, and my parents couldn't say no to her in Flushing (kinda like Chinatown but with less tourists) and we bought too. I started looking up all this information and I feel as if we've bit of more than we can chew.

I feel stupid and I don't want the turtles to die! It'll be on my conscience. :(

(And my sister will cry for ages- she's 9.)

Posted by Lucia | September 5, 2010 10:22 PM

my mom bought two of these 5mos ago. they dint eat the pellets, so I gave them the fish flakes (tetra algae) and, they love it. they doubled up in size now. now that I know how poor their situation is, it makes me wanna buy them all.. I love turtles and I wanna take care of them.. hope I could save some before its too late...

Posted by mako | September 13, 2010 1:03 AM

i bought 4 2 months ago they wouldnt eat so i got a bigger tank heater filter and a basking lamp they are happy now

Posted by ricardo | November 9, 2010 7:37 PM

This is the type of blogs that encourage ignorance among the weak heads.

Posted by World | February 20, 2011 2:25 PM

i bought 2 turtles fromo myrtle beach..they were in great condition and they had a really nice cage. they still alive and its been half a year..but they are both less then 4 inches shell length. but idk i wake up to there heat lamp every morning..lol love them!

Posted by megan simpson | February 27, 2011 2:46 PM

the rules now a days are so stupid. who cares if the turtle is less then 4 inches as long as you take care of it. i was passing by fort hamilton parkway and my gf got 2 half an inch turtles but yea the people who sell it are fucked up cause the guy took out some more turtles and we saw a buckle filled with about 300 turtles just stacked upside down on eachother so the turtle you get might die but just make you take care of it as soon as you get home

Posted by aj | April 10, 2011 10:51 PM

I purchased 2 of these baby turtles in China town, N.Y. They were in a small tank. One you would cathc and put bugs in. At the time for transport it seemed o.k. It was the only tank with turtles in the store, I just happened to ask if they were for sale. The man wanted $12.00 but I got both turtles with tank for $10.00. The next day I went out and purchased a reptile tank (plastic), a coated wire heater that i placed under the rocks b4 I added the water, a floating island that i weighed down for them to climb on. Since I love plants in Walmart they have bulb and plant light fixtures, I use a small o9ne for the tank. They are very busy and seem fine. I left a little pool in between the rocks because sometimes they seem to like just having their bodies just laying on a rock in the water. However, the woman in the store that I bought the supplies in told me to fill the tank 1/2 way with water cause they like to swim. She was wrong. There are turtles that swim in water all day but mine wasn't one of them. I've learned alot from these post RE: the turtles being illegal, they eat lettuce, tuna fish etc..so thank you. Also, while in China Town that night there were garbage pails full of these big black frogs just piled on top of eachother. Store after store had these pails full of these frogs. I was very upset. I realize they may be a source of food for the Chinese residents but it just is cruel. I did take note of the animal help info listed. I dont go to N.Y often but I will take note of the addresses there has to be a way to display these animals even if they are for these people to eat them. Good Luck to all my turtle loving friends out there. We should all help to see that these animals are treated and sold legally.

Posted by Debbie | June 8, 2011 2:57 AM

Oh my goodness. My sister has three kids and they just got back from myrtle...and of course with a little turtle! About 8 dollars. It was in this tiny 6 inch container with barely any water. I immediately searched online about how to care for these turtles with my ten year old neice who named it sophie. I told my sister we need to go to the petstore, she said no I'm doing exactly what the lady told me to do. I finally convinced her to go and she ended up buying a $200 turtle tank with lights for basking, filter, and plenty of space to swim. People are such idiots! My sister would have believed the lady who sold her the turtle if I hadn't of looked it up. Those cruel dealers care only about their profits, it makes me sick.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2011 11:53 PM

People really need to focus on the fact that hundreds of baby turtles are dying every month and are treated disgustingly before they die, they are put in plastic boxes with fake palm tree's and hardly any water and some have even fallen on the floor and broken and there laying there dead. How do I know this? I've been there and witnessed it, these people had no sympathy for these babys dying on the floor. It was DISGUSTING. Not only are these poor turtles being abused, but while I was there I walked past a pet store...and god what i saw outside disturbed me and it was something I'll never forget, a poor abused rainbow macaw, that beautiful poor poor bird had a scar on his wing, on his beak, and only had one eye open. His cage was only a tiny one for a parrot only big enough for breathing room and the bottom of the cage was full of feces. It was disgraceful. Never, have I ever, seen such abuse in an animal and I volunteer in two animal shelters. These people need to be brought to justice and something NEEDS to be done, before any more animals die.

, Someone who cares

Posted by Kalanigirl | July 11, 2011 10:25 PM

do they still sell baby turtuls in chinatown

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2012 8:18 PM

Do they still have them? I really want one

Posted by natalie | March 3, 2012 1:46 AM

Chinese people hate animal

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2012 8:05 AM

Deicide tonight! bring lot's of turtles

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2012 9:48 AM

Urban dwellers should have no say about wildlife

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2012 10:07 AM

um i have them you should buy them if you leave them wouldnt they be in more danger they are very kind and thankful mine re just nice all of them are nice why would you NOT buy them they are adorable and cute when you have them its the same like any other pet you love them so MUCH so kind and smart

Posted by karina | May 1, 2012 7:10 PM

Please, I want a few. Can any one remember what street in chinatown they are on? My email is KittanaKitten@live.com

Posted by Kittana Kitten | July 21, 2012 1:20 AM

Lin5an1ty eat the turtle.

Posted by Anonymous | July 21, 2012 3:42 AM

We get our turtle out of the tank once a day for about 30 min and let it run around on a fuzzy blanket. She loves it and runs so fast. It's good do they can warm up. She knows when it's time to get out because she tries to run up the tank when we open it.

Posted by Jenineclay | July 27, 2012 11:58 PM

^ OFWGKTA fan right there

Posted by Anonymous | July 28, 2012 12:02 AM

What about the ones they sell inside the stores in th big tanks

Posted by Anonymous | July 17, 2013 9:42 PM

How much on average does it cost to buy every thing cause I will go to a pet store and how long do they live and why not buy them we will be saving them

Posted by Anonymous | July 17, 2013 9:47 PM

They sell them in Chinese supermarket 6710 Bay Parkway Brooklyn NY.This is totally cruel and sick!The most horrid thing I have seen!!!

Posted by Sophia | May 28, 2014 8:10 PM

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