Tell us if this situation sounds familiar. You find yourself walking past the famed Testudo statue in front of McKeldin Library and really want to give his nose a solid rub for good luck. The only problem is that you don’t know how many dirty, germ-infested hands have touched that same exact surface just moments before. Such a scenario could dissuade anyone, even the most loyal of Testudo lovers, from giving the 80-year-old statue a rub for good luck.
You have no need to worry, though, because it turns out that Testudo’s nose is much cleaner than you may think. Copper and its alloys, including bronze, are anti-microbial surfaces, which in short means that the surface kills bacteria, yeasts, and viruses on contact. This discovery is nothing new or ground-breaking. In fact, early human civilizations, dating back to 2000 B.C., used copper as a means to better sterilize their drinking water. Recently though, copper and its alloys have been put to use in public places in an effort to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs transferred on frequently touched surfaces.
So the next time you pass up the coveted opportunity to give Testudo’s nose a rub for good luck, remember that he is killing more bacteria and germs than he is actually spreading. Chances are his nose is much cleaner than a lot of other surfaces we have no problem touching every day. No need to fear the turtle.