Wildlife officials on lookout for sick turtles in Florida
Tallahassee, Florida – As wildlife officials study a virus infecting softshells, cooters, sliders, and common snapping turtles, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking members of the public to report freshwater turtles that appear sick, act strangely, or are dead.
Since early 2018, the disease, turtle fraservirus 1, or TFV1, formerly known as turtle bunyavirus, has been under review by the state and has been detected in Putnam, Lake, Seminole, Orange, Polk, Osceola, Brevard, Indian River, and Collier counties.
This year, the first snapping turtle with TFV1 was found in southern Indian River County.
According to the commission said turtles might be sick if they appear sluggish, unresponsive, or reluctant to flee, stay in shallow water for prolonged periods of time, have eyes that appear sunken, swollen, crusty or cloudy, have reddened skin on their heads, necks, limbs or shell bottoms or are irregularly swimming, such as going in circles and being unable to submerge.
In August, the commission issued an order that prohibited people from taking freshwater softshell turtle species or yellow-bellied sliders.
The commission advised people not to eat turtles acting strangely or that appear unhealthy.