Proposed Rule Revisions for Diamondback Terrapin
In Spring 2020, FWC assembled a Standing Team to oversee a holistic approach for potential conservation actions that would benefit diamondback terrapin in Florida. As part of a suite of conservation actions, FWC staff are seeking feedback from the public on proposed changes to rule 68A-25.002, F.A.C., for diamondback terrapin in Florida. These proposed changes would eliminate take of terrapins from the wild, and eliminate possession except where authorized by an FWC-issued permit.
As part of the effort to solicit feedback on these proposed revisions, FWC staff will present two webinars open to all participants focused on threats to diamondback terrapins, ongoing conservation actions for the species, and impacts of the proposed revisions on Floridians. Those who currently possess diamondback terrapins, including pet owners, wildlife rehabilitators, and education/outreach professionals are especially encouraged to participate, but the webinars will be open to all interested parties.
For more information on how to access the webinars and provide feedback on the proposed rule revisions, visit the webinar announcement below. A PDF of the webinar presentation is available for download. Comments will be accepted between September 2nd and October 2nd, 2020, submitted via e-mail to Freshwater.Turtles@myfwc.com. Any questions can also be directed to this address.Public Comment Announcement
FWC rules prohibit taking or possessing turtles from the wild that are listed on Florida's imperiled species list. These turtles are listed as imperiled:
- Alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii)
- Barbour's map turtles (Graptemys barbouri)
- Suwannee cooters (Pseudemys suwanniensis)
Also prohibited is taking species that look similar to the imperiled species, which include common snapping turtles and cooters.
- Cooters (Pseudemys sp.)
- Escambia Map Turtle (Graptemys ernsti)
- Snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina)
For all other freshwater turtles, take is limited to one turtle per person per day (midnight to midnight) from the wild for noncommercial use. The transport of more than one turtle per day is prohibited, unless the transporter has a license for sale or exhibition of wildlife, aquaculture certification from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or documentation that their turtles were legally obtained (proof of purchase).
Freshwater turtles can only be taken by hand, dip net, minnow seine or baited hook. Most freshwater turtles may be taken year-round. Taking turtles with bucket traps, snares, or shooting with firearms is prohibited. Softshell turtles may not be taken from the wild from May 1 to July 31. In addition, collecting of freshwater turtle eggs is prohibited.
Possession limits for the following turtle species and their eggs are as follows:
- Loggerhead musk turtles - two
- Box turtles - two
- Escambia map turtles - two
- Diamondback terrapins - two
No one may sell turtles taken from the wild in Florida. In addition, no one may buy, sell, or possess for sale alligator snapping turtles, Barbour's map turtles, Suwannee cooters or parts thereof.
Captive Wildlife no longer issues that Class III permit for LISTED turtle species. Permitting is now handled by the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation and a Scientific Collecting Live Possession Permit is required. For more information, you can call 850-921-5990 or email WildlifePermits@MyFWC.com.
For additional information, see the Wildlife regulation 68A-25.002(9) of the Florida Administrative Code at https://www.flrules.org/Default.asp.
Non-native species that are released into the wild may compete with native species for habitat or food, prey on native wildlife, transmit diseases, or, in the case of the red-eared slider, interbreed with Florida's native wildlife. FWC Rule 68-5.001, F.A.C., prohibits the release of any non-native animal in Florida.
Red-eared sliders are a common non-native turtle that has been popular in the pet trade. Red-eared sliders are listed as a conditional species in Florida. Anyone that possessed a pet red-eared slider before July 1, 2007 can legally keep their turtle and no permit is required. However, Floridians are not allowed to acquire red-eared sliders as personal pets after that date.
Anyone importing or possessing red-eared sliders for research, exhibition, or out of state sale is required to have a Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnatve Species Permit. Certified aquaculturists with restricted species authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may possess and cultivate red-eared sliders for out of state sale and for sale to permitted Florida researchers, exhibitors or dealers, or to other certified aquaculturists. Authorized aquaculturists that import red-eared sliders also must obtain a special permit.