The number one reason why you shouldn’t have a pet turtle – the best life

Maybe you want an adorable pet, but you can’t own a dog. Or maybe you are deeply affected by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Regardless of the reason, turtles have clearly become a popular pet, especially for families with young children. After all, these reptiles don’t need much care apart from feeding them and cleaning their tank regularly. But don’t let the low-maintenance nature of this creature lull you into a false sense of security. Turtles actually pose a huge risk to your health, something you need to be aware of before you commit. Read on to learn from the experts about the number one reason why you should not get a pet tortoise.

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If the increased time spent at home over the past few years has pushed you toward wanting a pet, you’re not alone. According to a Forbes Advisor survey, about 78 percent of all pet owners in the United States have welcomed a new animal into their lives during the pandemic. The survey also found that the younger generation has a newfound love for the most overlooked pet: turtles. The researchers found that 22 percent of Generation Z participants — those between the ages of 18 and 25 — now own a pet tortoise.

“Turtles, especially baby turtles, are good pets because they are cute, inexpensive, and safer than other reptiles, such as snakes,” explains this Kelly Johnson ArborD., MD, a medical toxicologist and co-medical director of the D.C. National Poison Center. But as Johnson-Arbor and others warn, this pet reptile may not be as popular as many believe.

Close-up of a red-eared sliding turtle resting on a rock inside his aquarium.

While turtles seem more accessible than your average pet, they do come with serious risks. “They have salmonellaJeff NealCOO, Critter Depot, says best life. Good parenting can help mitigate salmonella Exposure, but even with good breeding, turtles will still salmonella. ”

As Johnson-Arbor further explains, these bacteria “live in the digestive system” of a turtle, and they can carry and shed salmonella without showing any signs of illness. “When humans handle turtles (including holding and kissing them, and cleaning their tanks or water bowls), the salmonella Bacteria can enter the human body and cause fatal disease. best life. “It is very easy for humans to become infected salmonella through contact with turtles.”

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A little turtle in a woman's hand

The ability of the turtle to spread easily salmonella That makes them especially risky as pets for young children, according to Neal. While anyone can have it salmonella Infection, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that the risk is higher for infants, young children, pregnant women, and the elderly. According to the Food and Drug Administration, these are the groups of people most at risk of getting sick salmonella Infection they need to be treated in hospital. Symptoms of the disease usually include diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache, and appear six to 72 hours after contact with the bacteria.

“If children come into contact with baby turtles, they are at risk of developing severe disease,” You are my second body, Ph.D., a consumer safety officer with the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, explains on the agency’s website. “Unfortunately, children will inadvertently injure themselves. Children tend to put baby turtles in their mouths or play in the turtle habitat and then put their fingers in their mouths. Also, reptile habitats are sometimes cleaned in the kitchen sink, which can contaminate food and eating utensils, Which can pose a significant risk to both children and the elderly.”

A teenage boy takes care of a pet turtle at home

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is actively researching a recent wave salmonella Infection is between people in 14 different states. According to the agency, 21 diseases were reported between January and July 2022, although the number of infections is likely “much higher than the number reported”. Eight hospital admissions have occurred as a result.

Of the 14 infected people interviewed by state and local public health officials, 10 reported touching turtles before they got sick. According to the CDC,, an online retailer that sells pet turtles, “has been identified as a source of disease in this multistate outbreak.” The agency says that “the strain salmonella People have also been found to have this outbreak at the facility.”

This isn’t the first time the CDC has contacted salmonella Infestations of pet turtles. The agency found that pet turtles were the most likely source of infection in 137 people during four outbreaks between March 2017 and February 2021. “Investigations showed that shortly before many people became ill, they were exposed to a baby turtle by touching, feeding, cleaning the habitat or changing The water is in the tank,” the Food and Drug Administration explains on its website.

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