Are Red Eared Slider Turtles Poisonous?

Are Red Eared Slider Turtles Poisonous

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many turtle owners have often asked me whether red eared slider turtles are poisonous or not. As I’ve been keeping turtles for a long time too, I had that question also. So, I did some digging on the internet and came up with some pretty interesting stuff.

So, are red eared slider turtles poisonous? The red-eared slider turtles are not poisonous. All bites from them are non-venomous. Pet red-eared slider turtles do not usually bite, even if they do, it is not harmful.

Now, as we came to know that the bite of red eared sliders is not venomous, there is something more to it. These turtles are very cute but sometimes they may pose some dangers to the owner especially if they do not have much idea about handling the pet turtles.

Why Do Red Eared Sliders Bite?

The red-eared slider may bite you and it can be very painful. If you are an adult, it might not break your skin and the bite will only hurt. However, the bite can be more painful and damaging to kids who have small fingers.

You need to keep in mind that, they do not “just bite”. In most cases, the animal bites if it is hurt or mishandled. This is the reason, it is recommended to keep your slider away from kids as they do not have much idea with the sliders.

Is It Possible To Get An Infection From Their Bites? 

You will not get any sort of infection from their bites. Just like other turtles, red-eared sliders may carry Salmonella. It is quite common for these animals to carry Salmonella. They might not show any symptoms or get sick from this.

So, you can get Salmonella infection just by touching and handling the turtle in your hand. You need to be careful while cleaning its habitats such as the food bowls, tank or the rocks.

If you do not already know, Salmonella is a type of bacteria that causes diarrhea followed by fever and severe stomach pain. The only way to know if your turtle carries Salmonella is to get it tested by the vet. If the test comes out positive, get the necessary treatment as soon as possible.

Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Carry Diseases? 

Like we already mentioned, all reptiles including red-eared sliders shed Salmonella just the way humans shed dead skin cells, while the dead cells of humans are harmless, Salmonella is not. Salmonella causes salmonellosis and it can pose a major health risk.

In the USA, every year Salmonella causes 1.4 million cases of illness and 400 deaths approximately. If you are considering bringing a baby red slider to your home, keep the area sanitized. Also, do not forget to clean your hands with warm water and soap after touching your pet and its housing.

Who Are At Risk Of Salmonellosis From Red-Eared Sliders? 

Most of the doctors and health consultants recommend not keeping turtles in the home if you have elderly people with compromised immunity or kids less than five years.

This reason behind this is these people do not have the required immune system to fight against the disease caused by the bacteria from the red-eared slider. Hence, they are more likely to fall sick from the shredded Salmonella from the turtle.

Also, people with diabetes and pregnant women should not handle the red-eared sliders.

What Are The Precautions Can You Take? 

The best way to avoid any contamination from the body of your pet is to wash your hands with antibacterial soap every time after touching it. This will not just prevent the spreading of the bacteria but also will keep your loved ones safe. If you take the red-eared slider out of its habitat, then clean the surface thoroughly afterward.

While handling the turtle, keep your hands away from its mouth area. At the same time, avoid kissing your pet and no matter how much you love it.

For avoiding bites, always grab the turtle by its shell, just by gently placing your thumb around its shell. Never grab the turtle by its legs, head or tail.  Keep in mind that, they are very small and delicate, so handling them in a proper manner is essential.


So, by now, you already know if red eared slider turtles are poisonous or not. Though they are not poisonous, they can carry diseases that can be deadly to us. So, be careful when handling them and always wash your hands after touching them.



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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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