How to decontaminate an outdoor enclosure

EnclosureQuestions

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Hello Tortoise Forums,

I'm going to be upfront and say that my family does not own any tortoises. However, I have a question concerning them that I can't find a good answer to online and I figured I'd ask the experts. My family made an offer for a house with an enclosed part of the backyard that the sellers used as a tortoise enclosure. I can't give you the exact dimensions, but I'd judge it to be roughly 4 by 10 feet, with a metal fence and gate, grass, and plants along the edges. (It's an irregular shape so I'm guessing the dimensions from what I saw when I visited.) I saw two tortoises when I visited, but I don't know how long they were there or if there were more in the past. My question is this: could this entire area be contaminated with salmonella? What could I do to decontaminate the area, including the soil? My family has a dog that is currently going through chemotherapy, and so we want to minimize the chances of her contracting salmonella. Is there a chance that any contamination might have reached other plants in the backyard through the soil and roots? How extreme of measures should we take?

Thank you so much for reading. Most of my info has come from google searches, and I couldn't find anyone else in a similar situation or advice for outdoor enclosures like this. Expertise from tortoise owners would be greatly appreciated.
 

wellington

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@Markw84 @Tom
I alerted two members that might have answers for you.
My answer is don't worry about it. I have not heard of one member on this forum getting salmonella.
When I was a kid, many moons ago, I used to catch turtles all the time. You know how kids don't think about washing their hands, well never once did I get salmonella.
Even now as an adult, I can't say I have remembered every single time I touched my torts, which is daily, to wash my hands before I may have picked my teeth or stuck a piece of gum or candy in my mouth.
 

Tom

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Hello Tortoise Forums,

I'm going to be upfront and say that my family does not own any tortoises. However, I have a question concerning them that I can't find a good answer to online and I figured I'd ask the experts. My family made an offer for a house with an enclosed part of the backyard that the sellers used as a tortoise enclosure. I can't give you the exact dimensions, but I'd judge it to be roughly 4 by 10 feet, with a metal fence and gate, grass, and plants along the edges. (It's an irregular shape so I'm guessing the dimensions from what I saw when I visited.) I saw two tortoises when I visited, but I don't know how long they were there or if there were more in the past. My question is this: could this entire area be contaminated with salmonella? What could I do to decontaminate the area, including the soil? My family has a dog that is currently going through chemotherapy, and so we want to minimize the chances of her contracting salmonella. Is there a chance that any contamination might have reached other plants in the backyard through the soil and roots? How extreme of measures should we take?

Thank you so much for reading. Most of my info has come from google searches, and I couldn't find anyone else in a similar situation or advice for outdoor enclosures like this. Expertise from tortoise owners would be greatly appreciated.
This should not be an issue unless there is a large build up of visible old feces. In that case, simply remove the feces and the UV from the sun will work its magic.

Salmonella is everywhere. There is more risk to your dog from your cell phone or the kitchen counter.

I've been messing with Chelonia since the 70s and I've never seen a single case of someone getting salmonella from any of them in any situation. This is a very rare thing. The urban legend type story that I've heard is that in the 60s and 70, large scale commercial breeders used to house masses of babies in old re-purposed human septic tanks. A few unsupervised little kids put turtles from these septic tanks in their mouths and contracted salmonella. Since the 70s, they haven't raised turtles that way, and parents learned not to let the kids put turtles in their mouths.

I'm sure someone could search up a case of a tortoise giving someone salmonella somewhere in the world. Its not impossible, but it is exceedingly rare and almost never happens.
 

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