Most parents won’t think too much when their child suddenly wants four pet turtles in hopes that they’ll turn into the crime fighting, mask wearing heroes of the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. They’re innocent, creative kids, after all. What parents and children alike might not understand is the fact that more likely than not, those turtles have been illegally obtained.

While the movie itself received rather negative reviews, the tendency for children to take things at face value allowed enough enjoyment to spur a desire for a family of turtles. As Adam Graham of The Detroit News put it, “There’s enough turtle power to please kids and fans of the original series.” Let’s take a look and see just why this film received an egregiously bad 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Could Things Get Worse?

As it turns out, it can. There’s definitely enough action to keep a kid entertained with the prospect of overgrown, bipedal turtles saving New York. So why not want some turtles of their own?  The main problem, however, lies with the fact that Canada requires import permits for turtles and tortoises brought in from other countries. As a result, many of the prospective pets are being illegally smuggled in.

The same sharp increase of turtle sales did, in fact, follow the original 1990 Turtles movie. Because of this increase in demand, there are some species which will sell for $25 in America, but a whopping $600 across the northern border! In fact, one man was found attempting to smuggle 51 live turtles into Canada. Luckily, this guy was caught, but many other smugglers have successfully dropped their turtle loads into the shops from which families are purchasing their new reptilian friends.

Hopefully, the turtle craze will die down soon, or at the very least, parents will be able to convince their children that, no, a rat well-versed in the art of being a ninja will not invade the turtle tank and teach the cold-blooded quadrupeds how to use a variety of fancy ninja weapons. And those turtles will most certainly not grow three times their normal size and mutate into their cities undercover saviors.

Unfortunately, it does seem that after this spell of turtle longing is past, we’ll have to see a reemergence in 2016. Director Michael Bay will return to the his seat and give us the sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so parents will only be able to feel a bit of relief before their child once more demands a tank of hopefully-mutagenic turtles.