In this article you’re going to discover – Are Turtles Dangerous?
While most animals aren’t particularly interested in harming members of our own species, there are exceptions.
Perhaps one of the best known examples is the box turtle (a relative of modern tortoises).
Boxes are among the longest reptiles alive today, growing up to five feet long from tip to tail.
One reason why they’re able to survive so well is because of their ability to go without eating for prolonged periods of time.
Most adult turtles spend 18 months or more hibernating during wintertime, but box turtles often enter a state of suspended animation for as little as two weeks.
These reptiles aren’t mindless automatons, however.
While sleeping, they keep track of external conditions such as temperature and humidity levels.
By doing so, they maintain enough energy to wake up quickly if danger arises.
This means box turtles pose no real threat to humans.
Do turtle harm humans?
Not necessarily. It depends on where you live.
Many states classify turtles as vermin, meaning they require special treatment under local ordinances.
Like rats and cockroaches, turtles carry disease-causing parasites and bacteria.
Turtles can also destroy crops and spread invasive plant seeds around gardens.
To control the problem, farmers must try to eliminate nests and relocate adults who come within range of farms.
Since turtles cannot be completely eradicated, people living near places where these reptiles thrive occasionally suffer the consequences.
But despite these threats, no evidence exists proving that turtles actively seek out victims and attempt to injure them.
Of course, since they lack mouths with razorlike edges, turtles couldn’t possibly cut anyone open.
Nevertheless, they employ several methods designed to subdue prey.
When hunting aquatic animals, turtles rely primarily on their strong front claws and large hind legs.
As for terrestrial turtles, researchers believe they crush food items between their shells before swallowing.
Other types of turtles swallow food whole, although they only consume small amounts at once.
Regardless of how they digest their meals, turtles absorb nutrients through specialized organs located on either side of their stomachs.
Since turtles evolved in swamps and marshes, they developed lungs filled with mucus membranes.
This allows them to extract oxygen directly from water vapors.
Although turtles breathe air, they rarely leave the water.
Instead, they lay eggs on land, allowing babies to hatch after spending nine months inside protective pools.
Once hatched, baby turtles won’t make a second trip underwater unless necessary.
Adult turtles stay away from dry land altogether, swimming instead along rivers and streams.
If you think you’d enjoy getting close to a turtle yourself, consider buying one as a pet.
With proper care, pets can become good companions.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares your enthusiasm.
Pet owners everywhere complain about aggressive behavior exhibited by exotic animals.
Even worse, some owners claim that their pets intentionally maim or kill family dogs or cats.
Although rare, incidents involving wild turtles attacking domestic animals do occur.
According to Florida State University researcher John Steenstra, these attacks happen when people accidentally cross paths with captive specimens.
Before releasing captured turtles back into the wild, scientists insist that humans treat the reptiles humanely.
That includes wearing gloves, washing hands thoroughly afterward and avoiding handling multiple captives together.
Researchers say that keeping a group of turtles confined indoors raises their stress level.
If possible, experts suggest placing a single turtle per enclosure rather than having numerous individuals crammed inside.
Also, researchers advise against feeding wild turtles table scraps.
Doing so encourages them to waste excess calories and gain weight, making them less likely to escape captivity.
Finally, if you plan to release new turtles into the area, wait until all existing residents move elsewhere first.
Otherwise, newcomers may be harassed or even eaten by the old guard.
Does a turtle bite hurt?
Turtle bite cases can range from minor scratches to severe lacerations requiring emergency care.
Snapping turtles are notorious for delivering these types of wounds.
They can also carry infections like tetanus, which requires immediate treatment.
Turtles are usually docile creatures but they can become aggressive at times.
They often mistake your hands for food and bite them.
If you’re bitten by a turtle, wash the wound thoroughly with clean running water.
Do not apply any antiseptic creams, lotions, or ointments.
Use only plain soap or detergent.
Is it OK to touch a turtle?
Yes, but only if you want to get bitten!
People who handle turtles face risks ranging from mild irritation to life-threatening injuries.
Reptiles are generally cold-blooded, so temperatures play a major role in determining how uncomfortable someone feels when touching them.
Handling warm-weather reptiles requires extra caution since hot objects can burn sensitive areas.
Likewise, tropical reptiles tend to shed heavy droppings — potentially choking children and causing respiratory problems.
Because turtles are slow moving, it takes longer for them to respond to stimuli.
So the slower you approach, the better.
You shouldn’t pick up a turtle by grabbing hold of its shell alone.
Rather, support both parts of the body with gloved fingers.
Even if you follow these rules, you still run the risk of being bitten.
First off, turtles have been shown to emit poisonous secretions when threatened.
Called “turtle wax,” the substance contains toxins designed to ward off attackers.
After coming into contact with it, victims experience headaches, nausea and vomiting. M
ore seriously, turtles may secrete anticoagulant proteins that prevent blood clotting.
Without prompt medical attention, sufferers die of internal hemorrhaging.
On top of these dangers, turtles are capable of inflicting painful wounds.
All kinds of reptiles have hard exteriors made of keratin scales.
Yet unlike birds, turtles don’t have feathers covering their lower halves.
Consequently, they leave behind exposed fleshy folds that feel rough against bare hands.
If you’re unaware of these facts, you could easily get a nasty scratch from a turtle.
To reduce the chances of becoming part of somebody else’s meal, avoid approaching turtles head-on.
Instead, slowly circle around them and watch for signs indicating they’ve spotted you.
Avoid startling the animal by suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
If you see turtles basking in sunlight, walk slowly past them to avoid disturbing them.
Don’t disturb nesting females or males trying to mate in seclusion.
Lastly, remember that turtles are unpredictable creatures and therefore shouldn’t be handled lightly.
Just because you haven’t witnessed an incident doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Can you get killed by a turtle?
It’s an interesting question, and one that has many answers.
The short answer is yes — but only if the turtles are hungry enough to attack.
But first we need to talk about what exactly happens when a turtle attacks.
Turtles have been around for over 200 million years.
They’re pretty much unchanged from their prehistoric ancestors, which means they haven’t changed all that much since then either.
Their bodies are built to be tough and resilient.
A turtle can withstand some pretty harsh conditions without dying, as long as it stays out of harm’s way.
For instance, most freshwater turtles can live in water that would make your skin crawl with goosebumps, such as extremely cold or hot temperatures, high salt content (like sea water), acidic environments like vinegar or urine, even radioactive waste.
In fact, scientists say that the key trait that makes these reptiles so successful is how well-adapted they’ve become to living on land.
But there are other reasons why humans find them scary, too.
Turtles will defend themselves against predators, including people, using two methods.
First, they’ll flatten up into a ball called “turtle mode” if threatened.
Second, the turtles may also use constriction as defense mechanism.
Constrictors wrap their prey tightly before killing it.
So do turtles.
If a predator tries to swallow a turtle whole, the reptile uses its tail to tighten around the victim until it suffocates.
You don’t want to mess with a turtle!
Although turtles can survive off of just vegetable matter alone, they need more protein than simple consumption provides.
To supplement their diets, turtles consume mud, sand, insects and worms.
Sand dollars are another important source of food because they contain calcium carbonate, which helps strengthen both teeth and bones.
When they feel threatened, however, turtles sometimes resort to eating things besides vegetables, dead fish and crustaceans.
That said, it takes quite a bit of hunger for a turtle to go after something bigger than itself.
You might think that a turtle attacking someone wouldn’t really hurt very badly, but if the aggressor becomes wrapped up closely, constricting mechanisms aside, the results can still prove fatal.
As mentioned earlier, turtles use constriction as a defensive strategy.
This means wrapping tight, making it impossible for blood to flow through the body.
Because turtles cannot breathe while they’re stuck together, the person who was attacked often dies of strangulation.
Although not every turtle kills intentionally, some are known to bite down hard on anything that gets close, especially children.
One woman suffered serious injuries after her young son grabbed hold of a snapping turtle and pulled it away from his pet bird.
Luckily, she survived despite having several broken ribs, punctured lung and lacerations across her face and chest area.
What is the deadliest turtle?
The Common Snapping Turtle is the most aggressive turtle species.
Usually calm in the water, they are quick to attack if provoked.
They are often mistaken for Alligators but they don’t have the same passive nature.
If you handle both at the same time, the Alligator will just sit there with his mouth open, ready to bite if you get too close.
A common Snapper will actively try to bite you even if you keep your fingers away.