FWC Asks For Public's Help Monitoring Fresh Water Turtle Die-Offs

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Tallahassee, FL - A fatal virus disease is affecting fresh-water turtles and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking the public to report 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.  Many reports have come from Brevard County but additional turtle mortalities have been reported from Orlando, Lakeland and the Lake Wales region.

Signs to look for: 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. 

FWC is asking the public to take 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.
  • If you don't want to load the app, you can find out more by clicking here.
  • 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.

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