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Name: James
Status: Other
Grade: Other
Location:OK
Date: 5/31/2005


Question:
This Morning an employee came into work with a small turtle. This turtle was bright orange, black and green in color. The turtle is approx 2 wide. As a kid me and my brothers always played with these turtles. Anyhow. She said that her daycare went crazy when this turtle was brought into the daycare as a show and tell item. They told her to never bring back a turtle, cause they are deadly to children. Could you please give me tell me some info on these deadly little cute lovable turtles. Jim.



Replies:
Okay, this is a long story, but I'll make it short. Basically, a number of years ago, I think in the 70s ish, there were a bunch of children that came down with a fairly serious illness (some I think did die) that was linked to small turtles. The issue turned out to not be the turtles, but rather the small children putting the turtles in their mouths. If we could stick big turtles in our mouths, we would have the same problem. I'm really not lieing on this - crazy story, but true. What ended up happening was the sale of these small turtles was legally banned because of all these cases of illness. So those people freaking out because of the turtle is really not justified, it's just important that you wash your hands after handling any animal, especially reptiles, and that if there is a small child around, you make sure they wash their hands and that they DON'T PUT REPTILES IN THEIR MOUTHS!!! I

t's a shame turtles have gotten such a bad wrap from the situation, and it's even more a shame that people believe in the sort of "urban myths" that go flying around. Hopefully you can help relieve their fears. Best wishes

Susannah Sample
BSBME Vet Student
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Click here to return to the Veterinary Topics Archive

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