The following will give you a better understanding of the current law on tortoise sales and keeping as pets.

All tortoise species are listed on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and are sub-divided into Annexes. Species listed in Annex B require no sales certificate (referred to as a License) to purchase or to sell. All species listed in Annex A require a sales certificate called a “Transaction Article 10 Certificate”.

Transaction Article 10 Certificates

Transaction Article 10 Certificates are issued to specimens that are too small to be microchipped (under 60 mm plastron length) and therefore cannot be identified as an individual. 


You can contact DEFRA at;

General Enquiries Tel: 0117 372 8168 – Fax: 0117 372 8206 – E-mail:

The list below shows the most common species being offered for sale in the U.K. and other E.U. member states.


Hermann tortoise Testudo hermanni Annex A Certificate required
Spur-thighed tortoise Testudo graeca Annex A Certificate required
Marginated tortoise Testudo marginata Annex A Certificate required
Horsfield tortoise Testudo horsfieldi Annex B Not required
Leopard tortoise Geochelone pardalis Annex B Not required
Sulcata tortoise Geochelone sulcata Annex B Not required
Indian star tortoise Geochelone elegans Annex A Certificate required
Red footed tortoise Geochelone carbonaria Annex B Not required

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