Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter, 2000, 6:36a
© 2000 by Chelonian Research Foundation

Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter

Spotted Turtles Receive Increased Protection in South Carolina

Steve Bennett
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources;
Phone: 803-734-3930; E-mail:

July 1, 2002 the spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) was officially listed as a “Species in Need of Management in South Carolina”. The addition of the spotted turtle to this list and the subsequent drafting of regulations was undertaken by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to afford protection for spotted turtles. The intent of the listing is to regulate the take of these animals and to eliminate the sale of wild-caught animals. Included in this notice you will find the justification for listing the spotted turtle. This is provided as an explanation for SCDNR’s actions concerning the spotted turtle.

Anyone possessing spotted turtles in South Carolina must apply for a free permit to possess these animals. The limit for wild-caught spotted turtles for a permitted individual is 9. There is no limit on the number of captive born spotted turtles an individual may possess, but all births must be reported as part of the annual permit renewal process. SCDNR will allow persons who possess more than 9 wild-caught spotted turtles to apply for a one-time designation exemption for these animals. Persons who possess more than 9 animals must apply for this exemption prior to September 30, 2002. The exemption will be granted upon the condition that every individual spotted turtle in the applicant’s possession is made available for a photograph to document the animal. These photographs will be kept on file, in digital format, by SCDNR and may be used in the future to identify these specimens. Applicants for this exemption will not be allowed to collect 9 additional wild-caught adult spotted turtles, and they will not be permitted to replace exempt animals with wild caught animals if any exempt animals are lost due to mortality unless the total number of spotted turtles in their possession falls below 9. SCDNR reserves the right to verify spotted turtle mortality by requiring the carcass or shell of the dead spotted turtle to match against the file photo.

The SCDNR is developing a spotted turtle permit application and should have that completed sometime this summer. The basic information required for a permit is included within the regulation, however additional information deemed important to this program may be required. Please see the Spotted Turtle regulations document and the Endangered Species classification request for the Spotted Turtle.

For more information and/or to request the designation exemption please contact the author.