ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Natural resources officials are calling for only pet turtles to be used in derbies that are an Independence Day tradition in some Maryland communities.
The Department of Natural Resources says mixing pet and wild turtles can pose health risks to the reptiles and the human participants when wild turtles are used.READ MORE: Tractor-Trailer Overturns On I-95 Near Belcamp, 2 Left Lanes Remain Closed
Officials say some turtles raced in derbies are collected from the wild and, if diseased, can infect pet turtles or other wild turtles when they are released.READ MORE: Decomposing Woman's Body Found In Baltimore
It is illegal in Maryland to release into the wild reptiles or amphibians that have been held in captivity without DNR authorization.
Also, the officials note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently investigating several outbreaks of Salmonella infections in humans associated with exposure to small pet turtles.MORE NEWS: 5 Injured, 1 Killed In West Baltimore Mass Shooting Wednesday
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)