Watch CBS News

Biologists Want To Know What's Killing Texas Turtles

TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Biologists are trying to figure out what's killing turtles -- at least 60 so far -- in as many as three Texas cities.

First discovered in Fort Worth, possible cases have also turned up near Houston, and in East Texas around Jasper.
Once the turtles are sick, most, if not all of them, are dying. The sick reptiles are lethargic, have blisters and their eyes are swollen shut.

"If you see a location where you have lots of turtles up on the bank, looking like they're basking, even though it's 40 degrees and raining outside, that's probably an indication those turtles are sick," said Rachel Richter with Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Bay Area Humane Society Leaders Caution About Impulse Pet Turtle Purchases, After Popularity  Of Teenage Mutant Turtles Movie
(photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Scientists are now monitoring ponds, lakes and other waterways to see if the mysterious illness is turning up anywhere else.

The illness is affecting four pretty common species, which biologists said are generally pretty hardy, tough common turtles in the state.

Texas A&M and the National Wildlife Health Center are testing turtles but won't say exactly which lakes or ponds until they know what's going on.

Biologists don't want to take any chance of people possibly spreading it to other areas.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.