Most people like to pet turtles because they require less effort to manage, which is a wrong assumption. To keep a healthy turtle, you will need to pay more attention to the turtle. A healthy turtle will not thrive with just water and substrate in the tank. You will need turtle bulbs, a basking area, filters, and decors. You need to ensure that their aquarium resembles their natural environment as much as possible. And not forgetting, the tank should be cleaned every once in a while.
All in all, turtles are good pets, but are they safe? Should you get a turtle for your kids? Can you contract Salmonella from turtles? Let’s find out.
Do turtles carry diseases?
Well, turtles do carry diseases. It is the reason why turtles are banned in some countries. They carry bacteria known as Salmonella, which is fatal and may cause death in some cases. The bacteria are easily transmitted to people and can even survive on surfaces. It is what causes significant risk. Most people get infected indirectly.
Can You Get Sick From A Turtle?
Getting sick from a turtle is very common. These creatures may look so safe and harmless. They are cute, and most people cannot resist getting into contact with them. They do this without knowing that turtles, whether big or small, carry the salmonella bacteria on their shells’ surface and outer surface. It is easy to assume that the turtle is not infected with the bacteria because they are not affected. They never get sick from Salmonella. The terrifying part is that the infection is not just when you touch the turtle. You can get infected by touching their habitats, such as the tanks, the aquariums, and the cages.
Once you touch these surfaces, you can as well infect other people like your kids. The bacteria is dangerous as it causes life-threatening infections. People have died from this infection like the 2007 case of the kid from Florida. People infected will experience symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, headache, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting—a few days of chaos. People should recover from the disease without treatment. The symptoms should appear from about 6 hours to 72 hours after touching the infected surface. It should take about 3 to seven days for those recovering.
However, not everyone will heal without medication. Some people will get extremely sick that they will require attention from a doctor. The bad news is that Salmonella can infect anyone with a higher risk for kids, infants, the elderly, and people with lower resistance to infections. It can be due to HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, pregnancy, among other diseases. Never assume that your turtle does not carry the bacteria or cannot carry it. It is always better to be safe.
Do All Pet Turtles Carry Salmonella?
Like I mentioned earlier, it is always better to stay safe than be sorry. Salmonella is part of the turtles and not just the turtles but most reptiles. This bacteria forms the gastrointestinal flora for most reptiles. It means that you should get infected with the bacteria after getting into contact with their droppings, which in turn contaminates everything else. An infected turtle can look healthy and clean, which is very deceiving to people. Only in a few extreme scenarios will you find the bacteria causing disease on these reptiles. It is hard to know if the turtle is carrying the bacteria because they can test negative even when positive. The right thing is to keep in mind that any reptile or amphibian may carry the bacteria.
Many other pets can carry the bacteria apart from turtles and other reptiles. Pets like cats, dogs, etc. can carry Salmonella. We should not stop petting animals. It means that we should be careful every time and accept the fact that everyone can get infected. With this in mind, we should now see how we can lower the risk of contracting the bacteria.
How To Prevent Salmonella From Turtles
The first step is to take precautions. Know the people with the highest risk of contracting the bacteria. The elderly, infants, children, and people with lower immunity are vulnerable. These are the people you should protect most. Keep them out of reach of turtles. Staying healthy and among healthy people should lower the risk of contracting the bacteria. In wild reptiles, there is no method employed to control the spread.
The best prevention if you own a turtle, is to keep safe. Ensure you clean your hands thoroughly before and after getting into contact with the turtle. Something else to avoid is kissing or licking your turtle. If you have kids, you should always monitor them whenever they handle the turtle. Kids are cunning, and they will try to be cheeky, so the best thing is to minimize their interaction with the turtle or other pet reptiles. You should also keep all turtle equipment away from their sink. Some people clean turtle tanks in their drain, which is entirely wrong.
Do not use the cleaning tools for turtles in other aquatic animals’ tank-like fish. When cleaning their tank, remember that the bacteria resides in their gut, so their waste should be handled appropriately and well disposed of. Also, clean the tank regularly. It reduces the chances of contracting the bacteria. You should also change the water frequently. Immediately you are done cleaning, make sure you clean your hands properly with water and soap and don’t leave out your cleaning equipment.
In conclusion, if you want to own a turtle, you should stay away from pet stores and consider adopting from local rescues. Turtles from pet stores are poorly managed, so the risk of getting an infected turtle is high. When you own a turtle, keep safe and maintain cleanliness.
Can You Get Salmonella From Touching A Turtle?
Contacting Salmonella is very easy. Touching a turtle exposes you to the risk of getting Salmonella. The bacteria reside on their gut, and anything that comes into contact with their waste carries the bacteria. The turtle’s outer skin, as well as their shell surfaces, are infected. Touching the turtle will infect you with the bacteria.
Do All Pet Turtles Carry Salmonella?
It is not easy to know which pet turtles do not carry the bacteria. The best thing to do is to stay safe and take precautions. The bacteria are part of them. It resides in their gut, so it is easy for them to carry the bacteria. An infected turtle may test negative, so you should always be careful.
Can You Get Rid Of Salmonella On Turtle?
As for now, there is no method in action guaranteed to get rid of the salmonella bacteria. There was a concept about Salmonella free turtle in recent years, where the bacteria were removed from the turtle eggs. It was supposed to bring to life salmonella free hatchlings, but it turned out that they could also test positive.
How Do You Kill Salmonella?
Are you in doubt that your food may be contaminated? It is said that thorough cooking of contaminated food should kill the bacteria, but why should you eat contaminated food. Although cooking can kill Salmonella, you should not take chances. The risk of infection is high, so keep safe and stay away from potentially contaminated foods.