Do Terrapins Bite?

“How dangerous can a terrapin bite be”? Someone, bitten by an aggressive terrapin only a couple of days back, asked me. I comforted him by saying, “Don’t worry; just take medicines and proper care.”

 

Small juvenile terrapins look cute but once they grow older, their appearance starts taking a prehistoric look, enough to scare off most of the brave hearts. Some species of the fully grown adult terrapins become huge and can acquire terribly powerful jaws.

 

Terrapins are preyed by a number of predators, including human beings. But the massive ones like alligator snapping turtles (Largest terrapin found in North America) can behave more as potential predators than a pitiable prey.

 

They look fierce in their spiked armor (shell) and jagged, horny, power-full beak-like jaws. The jaws are terribly powerful and according to a popular belief, one can get rid of a terrapin bite only when it thunders. Their body color helps them to camouflage with its surroundings too.

 

Pet terrapins are cute, soft and timid no doubt, but they are wild by nature so you have to wait for sometime before it gets accustomed to your touch and its environment. Hence ‘Careful handling’ is the first message for the terrapin owners.

 

Remember that the first terrapins appeared 180 million years ago and they proudly walked on this earth along with the Dinosaurs.

 

Unlike many other reptiles terrapins are not poisonous. But their bite may carry significant bacteria called Salmonella. Terrapins carry these bacteria on their body surface or excrete them. It can pose a serious threat and can be fatal too for the human beings in case proper medical assistance is not arranged in time.

 

Children should also be trained properly about the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ during terrapin handling. A child below 5 years should not be allowed to handle a terrapin. A power-packed snap can cause a severely painful injury to an adult human being. For small children, it may be as serious as amputation of digits.

 

Similarly, due to careless handling a terrapin may remain unhappy and ever annoyed too. Try to avoid that and look after it properly.

 

But in case any terrapin has tried to chomp you off, don’t get panic. Wash the wound under running water thoroughly with carbolic soap and then apply an antibiotic ointment. Report your doctor immediately and later if there is any discomfort.

 

Sumptuous food, happy environment and nice, gentle care will tame your terrapin in no time.

 

Hereafter, no more biting!




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