Turtles, frogs, iguanas, snakes, geckos, and chameleons are popular pets with many families because they are colorful and cute, but they may be carriers of Salmonella. Chicks and young birds, particularly popular around Easter, are also common carriers. These animals may have Salmonella germs on their bodies even when they appear healthy and clean. The germs can also get on cages and aquariums where they live, or in the water where they feed and swim.
The best way to prevent you and your children from getting infected with Salmonella from a reptile, amphibian, or bird, is to practice good hygiene when handling them. Everyone needs to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water IMMEDIATELY after touching a reptile, amphibian or bird, or anything in the area where they live. EVERY TIME!! Hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not readily available.
Adults should always supervise hand washing for young children. Teach your children not to touch their mouth when handling their pet, and wash any clothing the animal might have touched.
Cages and aquariums should be carefully cleaned outside of the home. Use disposable gloves when cleaning, and do not dispose of water in sinks used for food preparation or for obtaining drinking water.
Do not let these animals roam freely throughout the house. Keep them out of areas where food or drinks are prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, pantries, or outdoor patios. Use soap or a disinfectant to thoroughly clean any surfaces they may have touched.
Do not bathe animals or their habitats in your kitchen sink. If you use a bathtub, it should be thoroughly cleaned afterward. It's best to use bleach to disinfect a tub or other any place where your pet is cleaned.
Think twice before bringing a reptile, amphibian, or bird into your home if you have children under 3 or someone whose immune system is compromised, as they are particularly susceptible to infection.
There's no reason your family can't enjoy a pet snake, gecko, or chick as long as you take proper precautions. "Chicks, and frogs, and snakes better scurry and I'll wash my hands in a hurry".