On September 28, 2020, bill H.4831 was signed into law establishing possession limits for native turtles in South Carolina and restricting transfers and sale. Section 50 15 70 of the 1976 Code was amended to read:
- Except as otherwise provided in this article, it is unlawful for a person to possess, sell, barter, trade, ship, or remove from this State, or attempt to possess, sell, barter, trade, ship, or remove from this State the following native species of turtles, including parts, products, eggs, offspring, and derivatives thereof:
- Additionally, the following personal possession limits, subject to an aggregate limit of ten, are
(1) Florida cooter (Pseudemys floridana) 5 (2) River cooter (Pseudemys concinna) 5 (3) Chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia) 5 (4) Eastern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) 5 (5) Spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) 5 (6) Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox) 5 (7) Eastern mud turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum) 5 (8) Striped mud turtle (Kinosternon baurii) 5 (9) Common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) 5 (10) Yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta) 5 (11) Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) 5 (12) Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina) 2 (13) Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) 2
A person who exceeds a personal possession limit under Section 50 15 70(B), must register the number and species of turtles in the person’s possession with the Department of Natural Resources by December 27, 2020 in order to receive a temporary exemption to the personal possession limits. The person is prohibited from acquiring another turtle listed in Section 50 15 70 until such time as the number of turtles in the person’s possession is below the established limits. A person who registers with the Department of Natural Resources and subsequently acquires a turtle in excess of the established limits is subject to the same penalties provided for violations of Section 50 15 70.
**Species listed as Endangered or Threatened in South Carolina may not be possessed without a permit. This includes, gopher tortoise, bog turtle, and spotted turtle.**
Changes for Spotted Turtle and Box Turtle Regulations
Article 123, Section 151-1, Regulations for Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata), was amended and requires:
A person shall not take, possess, transport, import, export, process, sell, purchase, offer for sale, trade, gift, barter, ship, or receive for shipment any spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) without a permit from the Department.
Any person in possession of a Spotted Turtle Permit granted by SCDNR must register with the Department the current number of Spotted Turtles in their possession by December 27, 2020. Spotted turtles will be assigned a unique number and must be shell notched with the identification number provided by Department personnel. No unmarked spotted turtles may be possessed, unless covered by a scientific collection permit.
Upon completion of registration and certification of marking, the Department will issue a new permit valid for 1 year.
No wild-caught spotted turtles may be collected.
Reproduction of captive spotted turtles is prohibited unless authorized by the Department.
Article 123, Section 151-4, Possession Limits for Certain Native Reptiles and Amphibians, requires:
A person shall not possess more than 2 eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina). Any person in possession of eastern box turtles in excess of the established possession limits as of the adoption of this regulation has until December 27, 2020 to register with the Department the current number of eastern box turtles, both wild-caught and captive born, in their possession. No new turtles may be acquired until such time as the number of turtles in possession is below the limit set in regulation. Registered turtles will be assigned a unique identification number and must be shell notched with the identification number provided.