The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a dire warning against kissing small turtles.
"Public health officials are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella linked to small turtles," the CDC states in an official notice. "Although any turtle can carry Salmonella germs that can spread to you and make you sick, turtles with shells less than 4 inches long are a known source of illness."
Apparently, turtles with shells smaller than four inches are banned under federal law specifically because of this risk. However, the animals can be purchased illegally online, at roadside stands, and some shady shops.
Even if the turtle is chonky, the CDC says that the reptiles "are not recommended for children younger than 5, adults aged 65 and older, or people with weakened immune systems. These people are more likely to get a serious illness from germs that turtles can carry."
If you do enjoy spending quality time with turtles, "don't kiss or snuggle your turtle, and don't eat or drink around it."