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Name:  Bob
Status:  other
Age:  40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

My son recently found a small snapping turtle in the middle of a mall parking lot that he took home on put in his fish tank. The turtle is doing fine but I have heard that turtles are dangerous to keep due to diseases they carry. Can you please advise on this? Also, I wonder if this turtle has to hibernate every year in order to survive. Thank you for your help.

Small turtles sold in stores were once notorious carriers of salmonella bacteria, which can be serious. Sale of turtles under a certain size was banned primarily for this reason. It is always possible for a turtle to be carrying salmonella or other bacteria, but if the turtle is handled as little as possible - which is best for it too - and hands are always well washed after handling, there isn't much danger. A captive turtle will likely get sluggish in fall and winter and eat less, reacting to decreased daylight, but does not need to truly hibernate.

J. Elliott

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