Consider before you buy…turtles carry Salmonella
Salmonella isn’t just a food-borne illness. Turtles and other reptiles carry Salmonella bacteria, which can be easily transmitted to people. A small turtle may seem harmless, giving parents a false sense that they’re a safe pet for children. But they’re not. The disease risk is so great that selling small turtles is illegal in the United States.
Salmonella is especially dangerous for children and senior citizens
In 2007, a baby girl in Florida died from Salmonella that was traced back to a pet turtle. The turtle was sold illegally at a flea market and given to the family.
Salmonella usually gives people a few miserable days of fever and diarrhea, but some end up in the hospital with life-threatening complications. Children and people with weak immune systems are most at risk. Additionally, a small number of people with Salmonella infections later develop Reiter’s syndrome, which causes pain in their joints and can lead to chronic arthritis.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says: Do not have a turtle in any household that includes children under five, the elderly, or people who have lowered natural resistance to disease due to pregnancy, cancer, chemotherapy, organ transplants, diabetes, liver problems or other diseases.
Source: The Humane Society of the United States