Tiny turtles are being blamed for an outbreak and hospitalizations in New York State. Tiny turtles are actually banned in the United States due to the risk of sickness, according to the Centers For Disease Control.
In fact, the sale of tiny pet turtles has been banned in the US since 1975 because of the number of illnesses they cause and the risk to children. Although any turtle can carry germs, tiny turtles are especially risky because children are more likely to handle them and get sick.
Even though they are banned from sale in the U.S., they are still often sold illegally.
What Are Tiny Turtles?
While any turtle can carry Salmonella, turtles with shells under 4 inches are especially risky. People can get sick by touching the tiny turtles, their tank water, their supplies, or the areas where they live. Even if the turtles look healthy, they can still spread Salmonella to humans.
The Salmonella outbreak has sickened three people in New York State. Six people in Tennessee have become sick and four in Pennsylvania. Other states impacted by the outbreak include California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. The turtles were purchased from MyTurtleStore, according to The Messenger.
Credit: CDC via Youtube
How To Avoid Sickness From Tiny Turtles
- Do not buy a tiny turtle, choose another pet
- Always wash your hands after touching your pet, its habitat or supplies
- Clean turtle's tank outdoors (if must clean indoors, use a tub and keep away from any place food is stored or prepared)
- Don't kiss or snuggle with a tiny turtle
In addition to tiny turtles, these reptiles are illegal to own as pets in New York State.