Reptiles and Amphibians
Reptiles (turtles, snakes, anoles, iguanas, geckos, chameleons) and amphibians (frogs, salamanders, newts, toads) have become popular family pets in recent years. However, these animals frequently carry a number of bacteria that can cause people to get sick. Reptiles and amphibians can carry these bacteria and shed them in their feces without being sick. The most important of these bacteria is Salmonella. Children under 5 years of age and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing severe illness when exposed to Salmonella.
Reptile- and amphibian-related diseases of concern in Ohio:
Steps to reduce your risk of disease:
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling reptiles and amphibians or their cages.
- Reptiles and amphibians should not be allowed to roam freely throughout a home or living area.
- Reptiles and amphibians should be kept out of kitchens and other food preparation areas. The kitchen sink or bathtub should not be used to wash reptiles and amphibians.
- Persons at increased risk of infection (children less than 5 years old and people who are immunocompromised) should avoid contact with reptiles and amphibians and their environments.
- Do not buy turtles with a shell less than 4 inches in length (It is illegal!). Children are more likely to put small turtles in their mouths, which increases the risk of developing salmonellosis.
Reptile and amphibian resources:
Last updated: 05/07/2015
Zoonotic Disease Program