LAKE COUNTY, Fla.—The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has launched a public reporting tool to help in its research on a virus that is killing Florida freshwater turtles.
FWC has been studying turtle fraservirus (TFV1) since 2018 and is now asking the public to report any sick or dead turtles to help them combat and understand this deadly virus. TFV1 has been found in Lake County, in addition to several other counties in Central Florida, but it could be present throughout the state, FWC warns; it has been identified in softshells, cooters, sliders and snapping turtles.
Signs a turtle could be infected:
- Appears sluggish, unresponsive or reluctant to flee.
- Stays in shallow water or beached on banks for prolonged periods of time.
- Head and neck outstretched flat along the ground.
- Sunken, swollen crusty and/or cloudy eyes.
- Reddened skin on head, neck, limbs or bottom of shell.
- Swims irregularly (sideways, in circles or is unable to submerge)
In 2021, FWC enacted an executive order prohibiting unpermitted taking and transporting of softshell turtles and yellow-bellied sliders to reduce the spread of TFV1, Turtles should not be captured and transported to a new location even if they seem healthy.
To report a dead or sick turtle, click here.