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Turtles: Cute but Contaminated

Did you have a pet as a child? Maybe a dog, cat or a turtle? Turtles actually carry salmonella, a bacterium that can cause poisoning.

Two baby snapping turtles

Photo: Clearly Ambiguous (flickr)

Turtles like these carry salmonella, a bacterium that kills 400 people annually

Did you have a pet as a child? Maybe a dog, cat or a turtle?

Turtles actually carry salmonella, a bacterium that can cause poisoning. An illness that infects over one million people every year, and is the cause of 400 deaths annually.

Though not all of those cases were because of turtles, those little turtles really are dangerous.

Lots of reptiles carry salmonella, but turtles are cute, right, so it’s fun to pick them up and play with them. Thus, people get infected more often by turtles than other animals.

In fact, it is illegal to own small turtles for this reason. The sale of small turtles was banned in the U.S. in 1975, but of course, people still find them or buy them illegally. Every year dozens of kids get sick from playing with their pet turtle.

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