Turtles Aren’t Always the Best Pets

TURTLE!ROSEBURG, Ore. — Turtle sales have spiked lately because of the popularity of the Ninja Turtles that were made famous in the 90’s. However, proper care was neglected to many of these pets and many have died because of it.

Susan Barnes, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hopes that the latest Ninja Turtles movie won’t cause another spike in turtle sales. “Turtles require a lot of care and have special diet and habitat needs to keep them healthy. Turtles also carry salmonella which can make people, particularly children, very sick.”

She goes on to explain that there are certain breeds that are popular, but also illegal to buy, sell or trade. These breeds include: Red-eared Sliders, Map Turtles and Snapping Turtles. “These are the most common turtles we see as pets, but it’s illegal to have them in Oregon because they are invasive species,” Barnes said. “If they get out into the wild, they are harmful to our native turtles which we are very concerned about.”

Neglect and poor care is common when it comes to turtles. Kids often lose interest quickly because they can’t fight crime and take down Shredder like their famous cousins the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Parents are usually left with the responsibility of disposing of the animal and the cleanup and aftermath.

Parents are urged to consider the responsibilities and health risks that come with adopting turtles. It is also enough to mention that some breeds can last 40-100 years and grow to be very large. Maybe the best bet would be a smaller animal that can keep interest and require less maintenance.

For more information on turtles in Oregon, visit the ODFW website http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/turtles.asp