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Is Turtle as a Pet Legal In India?

In a way, keeping turtles as a pet is actually illegal in India, especially those species that are native to the Indian subcontinent. If you want to know the specific laws regarding this then keep on reading because we’ll dive deeper into this topic. Here we go.

Turtle as a Pet

Legal Status of Turtles in India

In India, turtles are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.  This was legislated to protect different types of wild animals and hence puts them under the coverage of the law. Under the act, animals, birds, and reptiles have been placed in different categories for protection under the law, and this includes turtles. The law has been amended from time to time, and the last such change was made recently through the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022, which adds more types of turtles to these protected groups. This will ensure better protection from illegal trade and being kept as pets without proper permission.

See, selling and keeping turtles illegally is a serious crime that affects both the animals and the people involved. When such cases come in front of the respective administration, they usually raid pet shops immediately. Shop owners have been arrested because of catching and selling turtles, and it’s a good show of power against criminals. This kind of illegal trade does harm not only to the turtles but also to the local ecosystems where they are important.

Varieties of Turtles and Rules That Apply

In India, it is illegal to have certain turtles as pets, like the Indian Star Tortoise and the Red Ear Slider. Most people may confuse these turtles because they look alike, hence it may be hard for them to determine which turtle is allowed for them to keep. This may result in a person having a protected turtle without even realizing it. Therefore, whenever a person decides to have a turtle as a pet, they should first know the different species and, of course, never buy protected ones.

Legal Penalties and Enforcement

If someone is found owning or trading turtles illegally, they can face heavy fines and even time in jail. The Forest Department, in collaboration with other concerned authorities, is very vigilant in ensuring that such laws and their implementation are not taken for granted. They work closely with organizations such as the Turtle Survival Alliance to stem the illegal pet trade. The goal is to prevent people from trading illegally and to uphold the laws that protect these vulnerable animals.


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