PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A study by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has found a new virus is killing turtles.

“We don’t like seeing viruses we didn’t know about all of the sudden causing mortalities in turtles we weren’t aware of,” Wildlife Veterinarian Rebecca Hardman said.

Hardman said little is known about the virus, but it is being seen in more and more freshwater turtle species. The FWC doesn’t know if it’s a new virus, or if it has recently been introduced into the ecosystem.

“We still just don’t know you know where it came from, and why it’s causing die-offs so we are concerned,” Hardman said.

Hundreds of turtles have been infected with the disease, Hardman said.

“Softshell turtles are normally very fast animals,” Hardman said. “And if they do not run away when you approach them that is kind of clue number one. Sunken eyes or sometimes you get legions just meaning abnormal tissue. So ulcerations where the skin surface has eroded away.”