Bacteriological examination of 70 nesting green turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica was performed to investigate nasal and cloacal aerobic bacteria. A total of 325 bacterial isolates were obtained, including 10 Gram-negative and three Gram-positive genera. Two hundred thirty-nine were Gram-negative and 86 were Gram-positive isolates. Klebsiella pneumoniae was the most common microbe identified in turtle samples: 27/70 (38.5%) in cloacal, and 33/70 (47.1%) in nasal samples. The Enterobacteriaceae family, including Enterobacter agglomerans, E. cloacae, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella oxytoca, K. pneumoniae, and Serratia marcescens, was the largest Gram-negative group of bacteria recovered and comprised 127 of 239 (53.1%) of the Gram-negative isolates. Staphylococcus species was the largest Gram-positive bacteria group, including S. aureus, S. cromogenes, S. epidermis, and S. intermedius, and made up 63 of 86 (73.2%) of the Gram-positive isolates recovered. The results of this study demonstrate that the aerobic bacterial flora of nesting green turtles at Tortuguero National Park is composed of a very wide spectrum of bacteria, including several potential pathogens.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4