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The Scoop: Turtles and Salmonella

Turtles have been making their way into the news lately with a multi-state outbreak of human salmonella infections associated with exposure to these reptiles. At least 103 cases have been reported since May 2007, and have resulted in the treatment and hospitalization of children in 33 states. While the risks of salmonella presented by turtles is not news to me, I'll admit that I am a bit shocked that the sale of small turtles (with shells of less than four inches) has been illegal in the United States since 1975! Not only do I distinctly recall seeing tiny turtles in pet shops as a kid in the '80's, I also remember seeing them sold on the streets of NYC as recently as 2002. For your own safety, please do not purchase illegal turtles and continue to help educate others about the dangers of this outbreak which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the largest of its kind ever traced to salmonella found in the little creatures.


Join The Conversation
Monique-Marie427757 Monique-Marie427757 7 years
I rescued my turtle from a pet shop. Even though she was not as small as the one in the above picture, she was pretty close to it and she was not being taken care of. I really can not stand it when people take animals and try to sell them just to make a profit and not care about the needs of the animal or the effects it will have on humans.
wakeupandora wakeupandora 9 years
i kind of thought this was common knowledge? my husband and i had two turtles and a pacman frog and we were aware of all the salmonella dangers that they carried and always took precautionary measures after handling and cleaning. huh.
aembry396 aembry396 9 years
Reptiles aren't my fav...but I don't like that these do seem like disposable pets as vinnie said.
Alisha_Stiletto Alisha_Stiletto 9 years
Girl, they still sell them here in the city - Chinatown. For $5, you can get a baby turtle in a carrying case - that cheesy little tank with a handle kind of thing. Seriously.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 9 years
i had my turtle since he was the size of a quarter... and now he's like size of a plate ha! I had him since I was about 5 and my parents were always sure I washed my hands after handling him..... so WASH UR HANDS
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
Awwwww! Itty bitty wittle turrrrtle. *kiss*
mudnessa mudnessa 9 years
turtles get such a bad rap with salmonella. all reptiles are carries not just turtles. there is no greater risk associated with smaller sized turtles its just easier for kids to handle them when they are smaller. this is such a hated debate in the herpetology world. all it takes is responsibility by the reptile owner. if small turtles and turtles in general were no longer sold the sale of other reptiles would still take place and the problem would still be around. but we have been battling this since the 70's . . . just educate yourself before you get a pet and all will be fine and happy.
veruca_eve veruca_eve 9 years
I had a little turtle when I was a kid. But it was also common sense to wash our hands after we played with or cleaned any of our pets. That went for the turtle, fish, hamsters, hedgehog, birds, dogs etc. As long as you wash your hands and you're not sticking the turtle in your mouth, you should be fine. I never got anything from my turtle (btw, his name was zach..)
vinnie vinnie 9 years
I see these little guys for sale in Downtown LA and it breaks my heart. They seem like disposable pets. i can't even look when I walk by them. I had no idea that they could carry salmonella.
CanadianInVA CanadianInVA 9 years
Wow. I had no idea about any of this. Salmonella from turtles? I learn something new everyday.
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