Did you know your child’s pet turtle could be illegal in the USA?


Chances are you may have had a pet turtle when you were small, or at least knew a child who did. I have known several tiny turtle pet owners who were unaware of the deadly pet who was living under their roof with their children. So if you or someone you know has a small turtle living in one of their fish tanks, let them know, turtles can be harmful to their loved ones. It is surprising to learn that turtles have been illegal since 1975.

According to the FDA’s website and last updated on August 30, 2012 the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is responsible for administering the provisions of the regulation that ban the sale of turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches.  This regulation comes under the Public Health Service Act and is enforced by the FDA in cooperation with state and local health jurisdictions.  The ban has been in effect in the U.S. since 1975 because of the public health impact of turtle-associated salmonellosis. (Source, FDA)

No parent wants their child to contract salmanella, so know the facts. Children often have weaker immunity towards airborne bacteria, which can be fatal if they contract the disease.

Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph sh...
Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium (red) invading cultured human cells (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The truth about salmonella which turtles contain

1. ALL reptiles and amphibians could contain Salmonella.

2. What is Salmonella? Bacteria found in feces that can cause diarrhea illnesses in humans.

3.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), salmonellosis causes an estimated 1.4 million cases of foodborne illness and more than 400 deaths annually in the United States. *

4. While some people may not show any symptoms others may exhibit the following symptoms within 8 to 72 hours after being exposed to something that was contaminated:

  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps,
  • chills,
  • headache,
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Pet Turtles Cute But Contaminated with Salmonella an article provided by the FDA



* Sources for #3 and #4

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