We conducted a comparative analysis of the aerobic cloacal bacteria of European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis) living in their natural environment and juvenile turtles reared under controlled conditions in a breeding center. We included 130 turtles in the study. The aerobic bacteria isolated from the cloaca of the juvenile turtles were less diverse and more prevalent than the bacteria isolated from free-living adults. We isolated 17 bacterial species from juvenile captive turtles, among which the dominant species were Cellulomonas flavigena (77/96), Enterococcus faecalis (96/96), Escherichia coli (58/96), and Proteus mirabilis (41/96). From the adult, free-living turtles, we isolated 36 bacterial species, some of which are a potential threat to public health (e.g., Salmonella enterica serovars Newport, Daytona, and Braenderup; Listeria monocytogenes; Yersinia enterocolitica; Yersinia ruckeri; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Vibrio fluvialis; and Serratia marcescens), and pathogens that are etiologic agents of diseases of ectothermic animals (e.g., Aeromonas sobria, Aeromonas caviae, Hafnia alvei, Edwardsiella tarda, and Citrobacter braakii; the last two species were isolated from both groups of animals). The cloacal bacterial biota of the European pond turtle was characterized by numerous species of bacteria, and its composition varied with turtle age and environmental conditions. The small number of isolated bacteria that are potential human pathogens may indicate that the European pond turtle is of relatively minor importance as a threat to public health.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1