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U.S. Food and Drug Administration, links to FDA home page
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image of reptile and the phrase reptile rage

Did you know...

  • The most popular reptile pets in the United States are iguanas.
  • Turtles and snakes are popular reptile pets, also.
  • Iguanas, turtles, snakes and most reptiles carry the bacteria Salmonella inside their bodies.
  • Iguanas, turtles, and snakes sometimes shed the bacteria Salmonella in their feces (waste).
  • The type of Salmonella bacteria in these pets can cause life-threatening sickness in people.

What is Salmonella?

  • Salmonella is a bacteria.
  • Salmonella poisoning can cause vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramping.
  • Most cases of Salmonella poisoning come from undercooked foods.
  • Reptiles may have Salmonella on their skin, cages and anything else they touch.

What should you do if you own a Reptile?

Wash your hands with warm, soapy water immediately:

  • after handling any reptiles
  • after touching their cages
  • before eating food

Remember the Reptile Rules!

  • Always be sure an adult is with you when touching reptiles.
  • Never eat or put anything in your mouth during or after touching your animals.
  • Never clean cages in the kitchen or anywhere you make food for people.
  • Always wash your hands with soap after touching reptiles. Washing with water alone is not enough to kill Salmonella.
  • If you have open cuts or sores, cover them with bandages or put on rubber gloves before touching reptiles.

image of turtleTo read more about reptiles, go to "The Fright of the Iguana."image of turtle

Alert to Parents on Pet Turtles

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