Diseases you catch from reptiles

Steps to prevent disease transmission to people

Many reptiles carry bacteria, especially Salmonella, that can cause severe disease in people. It is important to keep this in mind when you, your family, and your friends are handling reptiles. Things you can do to minimise the transmission of disease from reptiles to people include:

  • Buy only captive bred reptiles.
  • Wash your hands with a disinfectant after handling a reptile or its cage or cage accessories.
  • Wear gloves and a mask when cleaning the cage.
  • Do not kiss a reptile or let it “kiss” you.
  • Do not clean cage furnishings or prepare food items in your bathtub or kitchen sink.
  • If bitten or scratched by a reptile, thoroughly clean the affected area with a disinfectant and hot water and consult your doctor.

Have your reptiles examined by our veterinarians on a regular basis. Reptiles are very good at masking signs of illness – and those people who are unfamiliar with signs of disease may miss early symptoms. An annual examination can often detect underlying health, husbandry and nutritional problems.