Is it safe to purchase baby turtles from a road side vendor?
Turtles are often carriers of salmonella, which can cause serious salmonellosis infections in humans, particularly among vulnerable populations such as young children and the elderly. In recent years, salmonellosis outbreaks linked to pet turtles have increased throughout the United States and there has been ban on the sale of baby turtles with a carapace (shell) of less than 4" since 1975.
In short, buying turtles as a pet with a carapace (shell) of less than 4" will increase the risk of salmonellosis infections in vulnerable populations and is not recommended. Offering for sale, turtles with a carapace (shell) off less than 4" is a violation of Title 21 of the Food & Drugs administrative rule Sec. 1240.62.