AUGUST 7, 2013

Turtle Resort now open!

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turtle pondGenerous donation by American Shotcrete Construction makes new 5-thousand gallon "resort" possible for nearly 200 Red-eared Slider Turtles.

The Red-eared Slider turtle population at Phoenix Herpetological Society (PHS) is at an all-time high – close to 200! Being a semi-aquatic reptile, a proper “slider” habitat is an outdoor pond with embankment basking areas. Sounds simple but providing this type of enclosure for so many is costly and maintenance is time-consuming. The pond PHS had constructed had served its purpose well since 2001, but it was in desperate need of an upgrade; a big-ticket item that just didn’t fit in the budget this year.

Bob Porter, owner and CEO of American Shotcrete Construction Inc., and his crew had been to PHS last summer to construct several new crocodile enclosures, and PHS called on him once again for an estimate on a new slider pond. The next morning rather than provide PHS with an estimate for a new pond, Mr. Porter and crew constructed a new pond – materials and labor donated. To PHS this generous donation of an 80-foot in diameter free form 5000-gallon pond was a big-hearted act of kindness that is what defines Mr. Porter.

Why so many slider turtles? They are the most commonly sold reptile in the pet trade industry and for good reason: a quick, easy sale. Sliders are bright-eyed, cute, very energetic and when babies, fit in the palm of a small hand making them especially appealing to children. Pet store associates fail to mention that sliders can live up to 30 years or more and grow to at least 12 inches.

Sliders are carnivores (meat-eaters) which include a diet of worms, insects, fish, etc. and carry dangerous bacteria called Salmonella on their outer skin and shell surfaces. Salmonella can cause a serious or even life-threatening infection for young children, elderly people or those with weakened immune systems from pregnancy, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases. There have even been several deaths from Salmonella in infants.

In addition, PHS does not permit the public to adopt sliders for the simple fact that they do not make good pets. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been enforcing bans on the sale of sliders in several states since the 1970’s and has issued several public warnings to consumers on the serious risks of possessing pet turtles.

Other advice for consumers:
Don't buy turtles for pets or as gifts
If your family is expecting a child, remove any pet turtle from the home
Keep turtles out of homes with young children, the elderly, or people with weakened immune systems
Do not allow turtles to roam freely through the house, especially in food preparation areas
Turtles must be kept in a proper outdoor water habitat/pond
Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching any turtles, their housing, or anything (for example, food) that comes in contact with a turtle or its housing
Be aware that Salmonella infection can be caused by contact with turtles in petting zoos, parks, child day care facilities, or other locations

Watch for symptoms of Salmonella infection, such as diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and headache; contact a doctor immediately if you suspect Salmonella

When a slider is surrendered to PHS, it spends the remainder of its life at the sanctuary. They cannot be released into the wild or placed into public waterways since they are not a native species to Arizona. Sliders are an invasive species to our fragile ecosystem and can introduce disease that is harmful to the native wildlife population, some of which is already declining in numbers.

Every red-eared slider in this state has been brought here by human hands.