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Safe Handling of Pet Reptiles & Amphibians

Healthy reptiles and amphibians can carry Salmonella and other germs that can make people sick.  But there’s good news! You can help keep yourself healthy around your pet reptiles and amphibians.

Turtle in boy's hand
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling reptiles and amphibians, and anything in the area where they live or roam such as their habitats, food, or equipment.
  • Reptiles and amphibians are not recommended for children under the age of five. This includes in households or school settings. Children younger than 5 years of age, people with weak immune systems, and senior citizens should not handle or touch amphibians or reptiles or their environment because they are at a higher risk for serious illness and hospitalization from Salmonella
  • Keep your reptiles and amphibians and their equipment out of your kitchen or anywhere in your home where food is prepared, served, or consumed. Never use food-preparation areas to clean reptile and amphibian habitats or anything in their habitats. These items should be cleaned outside of your home. If you clean the habitat in the bathroom, thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right afterwards.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate! You don’t have to touch a reptile or amphibian to get sick from their germs. Be aware that any reptile food such as frozen or live rodents, equipment, and materials, including the tank water, can be contaminated with Salmonella and other germs.
  • Do not kiss or snuggle with reptiles and amphibians because this will increase your risk of getting sick.

Follow these safe handling steps and enjoy your pets!