12+ Pet Turtles Carry Salmonella. A small turtle may seem harmless, giving parents a false sense that they're a safe pet for children. Larger turtles do carry the bacteria in their digestive tracts and can pass it on to those who do not follow proper reptile handling procedures (wash your hands!!).
As part of their normal intestinal flora and intermittently shed the bacteria in their droppings. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours. Studies have shown that 85% of all turtles, 77% of lizards, and 92% of snakes carry one of the 500 serotypes of salmonella.
Don't kiss or snuggle with.
But hardly a person thinks about danger lurking in them. Turtles commonly carry the salmonella bacteria on their outer skin and shell surfaces. A salmonella outbreak that's sickened at least 21 people across 13 states is linked to pet turtles, the centers for disease control and prevention (cdc) said at least seven people have been hospitalized as a result of the salmonella oranienburg outbreak, though no deaths have been reported to date. Epidemiologic and laboratory findings link the outbreak of human salmonella agbeni infections to contact with turtles or their environments, such as water from a turtle habitat, the cdc warning reads.