Seized Turtles Now Up For Adoption

Dozens of baby turtles are available for adoption in Longmont.

Fifty tiny Asian soft-shell turtles from Thailand were seized in March at Denver International Airport. The turtles are not banned in the U.S., but they were far too young to be legally shipped.

The turtles were headed for a Denver-area pet store which did not have the proper permits, according to the Colorado Reptile Humane Society.

Turtles under 4-inches in carapace length (top shell) may not be imported according to FDA regulations, the Humane Society said

Since March, one turtle has died, however 49 were nursed to health by reptile rescuers at the Humane Society.

"We've been stunned by how well they've done here," executive director A.E. Nash said at the shelter that houses about 180 animals including snakes, iguanas, turtles and lizards.

"With juvenile animals, you just never know; we're thrilled that we didn't lose more," Nash said.

The turtles, a species called Pelodiscus sinensis, were just over 2 inches long when they were seized. Almost a year after coming to the shelter, the turtles have nearly doubled in size.

Fully grown females' shells likely will be about a foot long, and the males will be smaller at about 6 to 8 inches, Nash told the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

The shelter is unsure how long the turtles will live. Most reptiles live about 15 years, but many turtle species live much longer. In an aquarium next to the Asian soft-shelled turtles, a Reeve's mud turtle named Swimmer is about 33 years old, Nash said.