62% of Australian households have pets, giving us one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. According to a survey by our member, Animal Medicines Australia, 3% of households keep reptiles or amphibians such as lizards, snakes, turtles, tortoises, frogs and salamanders.
Most of us consider pets to be part of the family and, in return, having a pet has been shown to have positive health benefits. Studies show owning a pet can reduce stress, increase rates of exercise and even reduce the incidence of allergies and help strengthen the immune system in children exposed to pets in early childhood.
But despite these benefits we need to be aware that our pets can share more than love with the rest of your family. Pets can carry bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi which can be transmitted to humans, especially young children, through bites, poop or saliva.
Here are some tips about avoiding infections from your pet reptiles. Always take your pet for regular health check ups with you vet. Reptiles have been linked to salmonella infections in people. Make sure you and your children wash your hands after handling them or cleaning their environment.
Find out more about Food safety and pets