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Fear the turtle

turtlessalmonella_r255pxBaltimore City Police have cited two street vendors for illegally selling red-eared slider turtles — a species health officials warn can carry salmonella and transmit it to humans.

“The risk of acquiring salmonella infection by handling turtles should be taken very seriously,” says Interim Commissioner Olivia Farrow. “People who have serious health problems, pregnant women and parents of children younger than age 5 should consult a physician before purchasing turtles and reptiles as pets.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says salmonella occurs naturally in turtles and does not usually make the animals sick. Harmful bacteria can easily be passed from turtle to person.


Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time June 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm

These are the dime store turtles of everybody’s childhood–the ones who always got sick and died after a few weeks. There is actually a turtle rescue group around; they had a representative at BARCtoberfest. She told me that keeping almost any turtle as a pet can be cruel and unusual punishment for the animal–if you don’t provide a good habitat and living quarters for it. In their natural homes, the sliders grow to be quite large. The ones we so unwittingly put to death were just youngsters.

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