Do turtles bite?
“How dangerous can a water turtle bite be”? Someone, bitten by an aggressive turtle just a couple of days ago, asked me. I comforted him by saying, “Don’t worry, just take the proper medications and care.”
Small, juvenile turtles look cute, but once they grow up, their appearance begins to take on a prehistoric look, enough to scare most brave hearts. Some fully grown adult aquatic turtle species grow huge and can acquire terribly powerful jaws.
Land tortoises are prey to various predators, including humans. But massive ones like alligator snapping turtles (the largest turtle found in North America) may behave more like potential predators than pitiful prey.
They look fierce with their spiked armor (carapace) and jagged jaws, hot and full of power. The jaws are terribly powerful, and according to popular belief, one can get rid of a tortoise bite only when it thunders. Their body color also helps them blend in with their surroundings.
Pet aquatic turtles are cute, fluffy, and shy to be sure, but they are wild by nature, so you should wait some time before they get used to your touch and their surroundings. Therefore, “Careful handling” is the first message for sea turtle owners.
Remember that the first water turtles appeared 180 million years ago and proudly walked this land together with dinosaurs.
Unlike many other aquatic turtle reptiles, they are not poisonous. But their bite can carry an important bacteria called Salmonella. Tortoises carry these bacteria on the surface of their bodies or shed them. It can pose a serious threat and can also be fatal to humans if proper medical assistance is not available in time.
Children should also receive proper training on the dos and don’ts of aquatic turtle handling. A child under the age of 5 should not be allowed to handle an aquatic turtle. An energetic click can cause a very painful injury to an adult human. For young children, it can be as serious as amputation of fingers.
Similarly, due to careless handling, a water turtle can remain unhappy and also upset. Try to avoid it and take proper care of it.
But in case a tortoise has tried to chew you, don’t panic. Wash the wound well under running water with carbolic soap and then apply an antibiotic ointment. Tell your doctor immediately and later if you feel any discomfort.
Sumptuous food, happy atmosphere, and gentle, friendly care will tame your water turtle in no time.
From now on, no more bites!