Salmonella isn’t necessarily a threat to your pet red-eared slider, but it is a concern for you as a human.

Turtles spend a lot of time swimming in the same water that they poo in, and considering that reptiles tend to have a high fecal carriage rate for salmonella, pet turtles are common vectors of salmonella bacteria. Salmonella can make humans sick, with symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

Children, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals are more likely to develop complications like meningitis and septicemia. For this reason, I do not recommend aquatic turtles as pets in a home with someone who meets these conditions.

Antibiotic treatment isn’t always required for salmonellosis, and most people recover without complications. However, see a doctor if your child exhibits the above symptoms for more than a couple of days.

You can help prevent salmonellosis by following good hygiene practices, like washing your hands immediately after interacting with your turtle/its enclosure, and not touching contaminated fingers to your eyes or mouth. It’s also a good idea to keep a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer near the tank in case you can’t wash your hands immediately.

More red-eared slider health topics:

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