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Stress by Misty Croton

The subject of stress came up on the turtle list serve (see links page).  Misty Corton (Director of the South African "Care Centre") responded with the information below.  With her permission I reprint ithere.

"Stress is insidious, and effects can last a long time. What often happens with stress is metabolic levels are elevated, and increased lactic acid levels in the muscles (sometimes called "white muscle disease") can cause prostration, depression, and difficulty with locomotion and standing. Most animals have a natural avoidance instinct toward sight and smell of (for the most part) their worst enemy - man.

Stress can and does kill more often than one would suppose. Once they become accustomed to human proximity stress levels will abate,but will take a long time to disappear completely in a WC animal. Yours may be CB in which case this is less likely to apply. One point to remember with stress, is that it can come in many disguises - injury, relocation, climatic change, diet change, food shortage, approach by humans, handling, aggression from companions or other animals, are all forms of stress.

An animal that is stressed is more prone to disease as his immune system is not functioning properly. The same applies to humans too.   There is no real test to determine whether or not an animal has recovered from stress, but if they are eating and drinking well, gaining weight, and are active and seem happy then usually this indicates they are no longer stressed, or that it has at least abated to tolerable levels."

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