The turtle Podocnemis expansa is an important wildlife species from the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. This also represents an important resource for coastal communities, as it has been historically consumed as food. Nevertheless, besides the sustainability issues, recent concerns have been raised over the health of the animals and possible impacts on public health. The aim of this study was to compare the occurrence of Enterobacteriaceae in the intestinal tract of captive and free living Amazon turtles. We examined a total of 116 adult turtles, including 51 free individuals from the island of Sao Miguel, in Santarém (Pará-PA) town, 50 captive business, and 15 from a conservation breeding area, located in the metropolitan area of Belém (PA). In total we obtained 245 bacterial growths in which 83 (33.8 %) were from the free ranging turtles, and 162 (65.7 %) isolates from captive animals. The species Klebsiella pneumoniae was the most frequent, with 52 isolates, totaling 21.2 % of bacterial growth, followed by Enterobacter cloacae 29 % (35/14), Serratia marcescens 84 % (29/11), and Salmonella spp. 80 % (24/9). In free ranging turtles the most commonly isolated microorganisms were Enterobacter spp., Klebsiella spp., and Citrobacter spp.; while Aeromonas spp., Klebsiela pneumoniae, S. marcescens, E. cloacae and Salmonella spp. were the most frequently identified microorganisms in captive animals. Results showed a greater diversity of microorganisms among the wild animals, and a high contamination per sample on captive animals. The species of Salmonella spp., E. coli and Acinetobacter spp. can be used as indicators of the sanitary quality of Amazon turtle populations. The habitat influenced the composition of the gastrointestinal flora of turtles. Knowledge of the gastrointestinal flora of animals is important for the identification of pathogens present in the native fauna of the Amazon region.

Keywords: amazon turtle, Podocnemis expansa, gastrointestinal, microbiote, captivity, wild.