Save the turtles: Bill considers banning collection of state reptile

A Kansas House bill would prohibit people from collecting ornate box turtles, although some note the prohibition may bringing unintended consequences.


State News

January 31, 2022 - 9:33 AM

A Kansas House bill would prohibit collecting the ornate box turtle, the state’s official reptile Photo by

TOPEKA — A Kansas bill could ban people from capturing or possessing an ornate box turtle, the state reptile, but some stakeholders are concerned this may have unintended consequences.

Under current state law, it is illegal to possess more than five box turtles with the intent to release them back into the wild. House Bill 2479, under consideration in a House committee, would prohibit any person from capturing or possessing any amount of ornate box turtles.

Dennis Dinwiddie, director of conservation and education for the Topeka Zoo, said there has been an alarming decrease in ornate box turtles across the state. He said because of their unique and colorful markings, they are often collected from the wild and sold overseas through the illegal pet trade.

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