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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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Feb. 27, 2020

Help FWC monitor freshwater turtle die-offs due to virus

A fatal viral disease continues to impact Florida freshwater turtles, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asks the public to assist the ongoing investigation by reporting sick and dead turtles.

Beginning in the St. Johns River watershed region in 2018, virus-associated turtle mortalities have apparently expanded to the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in 2020. Researchers continue to receive reports of sick and dead turtles from Brevard County. Additional turtle mortalities have been reported from Orlando, Lakeland and the Lake Wales region (e.g. Lake Kissimmee and Tiger Lake). The FWC is collaborating with wildlife rehabilitation centers statewide in the submission of samples from Florida softshell turtles and cooters (Peninsula and Florida red-bellied) for testing.

A turtle may be sick if you observe it at the water’s edge with its neck stretched out on the ground, the turtle is reluctant to move when approached and the turtle’s eyes are swollen or remain closed.

As part of the ongoing research, the FWC is asking the public for help by taking the following actions:

Report sightings of sick or dead turtles to the FWC by calling the Turtle Hotline at 352-339-8597 or through the FWC Reporter App. Photos can be uploaded via the Reporter App and will aid researchers in turtle species identification and condition.
Do not touch or attempt to move sick turtles.
To avoid spreading the virus, do not capture, transport or release freshwater turtles, even those that appear healthy, to new locations.
Do not eat turtles that appear sick or unhealthy.
This project is funded in part by a grant from the nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida via proceeds from the ‘Conserve Wildlife’ license plate. Since its founding, the Foundation has raised and given away more than $43 million for conservation, outdoor recreation and youth programs, and camps. For more information, visit WildlifeFlorida.org or call 813-358-8058.

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Probably because so many live in the thousands of retention ponds here in Florida, which are obviously filled with all kinds of toxic substances. They become ill, move about nearby ponds spreading it. Sounds like corona virus.
 
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Probably because so many live in the thousands of retention ponds here in Florida, which are obviously filled with all kinds of toxic substances. They become ill, move about nearby ponds spreading it. Sounds like corona virus.
Or because there was a grant available for the research and they wanted the money. Not saying the turtles aren’t sick and dying, simply stating that we might not have heard about it if not for the grant.
 

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Just livin’ my life easy come easy go...
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The “do not eat” part made me chuckle.
 

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I must admit, I have a soft spot for turtles. Hopefully they figure it out.
 

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Me too, in the pressure cooker with carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and celery!:D
I KNEW THAT WAS COMING! Eating a turtle seems gross. But then again I live in Montana so we can eat deer and elk and such, you southerners all eaten amphibians and reptiles and the like.
 
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Trying to address the above: Yes the turtles taste good. Also, The turtles in peril are not necessarily from retention ponds, but from the St Johns River (and spreading). Yes the money came from grants. That’s how much of science is funded.

The main red flag is that reptiles and amphibians are usually indicator species, meaning they are the first to show symptoms. Sort of the “canary in a coal mine.” These animals have been dying at an extremely high rate compared to other species.
 

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Fly-By-Night
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Git you some fried Cooter! Lol. They taste muddy to me.
Softshell turtle is what you want.

Find a log or sandbar where he's been sunning, put a piece of fatback or a wad of fatty bacon on a smallish circle hook (snelled with green twine) on top of the log or where he's been beaching. Tie off to a nearby log or branch.

You have to check it really often because if there's softshell turtles there are Gators and they love turtle.

When you pop him open filet all the meat off the back and legs, then cut across grain or it'll be slightly tougher once cooked. Dust it with fish-fri and release to grease.

Flame away...
 

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Rex Kwan Do Dojo
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Softshell turtle is what you want.

Find a log or sandbar where he's been sunning, put a piece of fatback or a wad of fatty bacon on a smallish circle hook (snelled with green twine) on top of the log or where he's been beaching. Tie off to a nearby log or branch.

You have to check it really often because if there's softshell turtles there are Gators and they love turtle.

When you pop him open filet all the meat off the back and legs, then cut across grain or it'll be slightly tougher once cooked. Dust it with fish-fri and release to grease.

Flame away...
Let’s do this! A MS soft shell fry out. And if we don’t get any, heard that crappie taste good...
 

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You got an open spot for elk this fall?
I actually don’t hunt. Sept, Oct, Nov, are my busiest months. Around here everyone is just giving away meat . A friends wife just brought moose meatballs by the house a few days ago and they were amazing.

You can literally just walk out on my parents deck and shoot an elk with a pistol if you wanted to. They are like cows up there!
 
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I actually don’t hunt. Sept, Oct, Nov, are my busiest months. Around here everyone is just giving away meat . A friends wife just brought moose meatballs by the house a few days ago and they were amazing.

You can literally just walk out on my parents deck and shoot an elk with a pistol if you wanted to. They are like cows up there!
Might have to apply if your up for it?
 
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