As Salmonella infections linked to turtles continue to be reported across the United States, Petco™ has responded with their “turtle relinquishment program” in joint partnership with Concordia Turtle Farm. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is encouraging anyone who has an aquatic turtle under the federally mandated four-inch carapace length to relinquish them in hopes of preventing further spread of the disease. However, Petco stores will accept any aquatic turtle, regardless of size.

Since 1975, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale and distribution of small turtles with shells measuring less than four-inches in length. This is a necessary safety precaution that Petco has happily adhered to in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of customers. Turtles relinquished to a Petco store whose carapace length is under four inches will be shipped to Concordia Turtle Farm. The Turtle Relinquishment Program excludes stores in Hawaii.

The following safety tips from the CDC and Petco will help eliminate the potential of salmonella infection:

Don’t buy small turtles under four inches from street vendors, websites, pet stores or any other sources.

Do not capture turtles in the wild and keep them as pets.

Do not keep reptiles in child care centers, nursery schools or other facilities with young children.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after touching reptiles or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should always supervise hand washing for young children. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer.