Turtles can be a very fun
pet for both adults and youngsters. Many of us have spent our youth looking for
them among ponds and wetlands. While most of us that partook in that activity
never got sick there are some precautions that need to be taken when having a turtle as a pet or handling turtles. Turtles can be carriers of salmonella.
Salmonella is a gram negative
bacteria that can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms in humans. The most
common of these symptoms are fever, perfuse diarrhea, cramping, and dehydration. Salmonellosis
is serious and can be a fatal illness if not treated. If you think you may have
salmonellosis call your physician immediately!
In 1975 the FDA banned the
sale and distribution of turtles with shells under 4 inches in length. It was thought that turtles smaller than 4 inches might
be more likely to be kept as pets by children and be small enough that a child could place it in his or her mouth.
So what precautions should you take if you have
your hands with soap and water thoroughly after handling a turtle
kiss a turtle or place it in your mouth
not place your turtle on your counter or any surface that might be used to prepare food
any surface you placed your turtle on with a disinfectant or bleach water solution
your turtle’s cage clean, remove feces and bedding on a regular basis
not let anyone with a compromised immune system handle your turtle
not give a turtle to a new born baby to handle
you have handled a turtle and have severe diarrhea and cramping 12 to 72 hours afterwards call your physician!