Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Preventing the Spread of Disease from Your Reptile to You

Preventing the Spread of Disease from Your Reptile to You

It is extremely important that you practice good sanitation every time you come into contact with your reptile or anything from its environment.

  • Wash your hands with a disinfecting soap after handling the reptile and any of its environmental contents, especially after cleaning its cage and coming into contact with any animal droppings.

  • Use disposable gloves.

  • Disinfect the cage and its accessories often.

  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling your reptile or cleaning its environment.

  • Do not kiss your pet reptile.

  • Do not clean your reptile’s cage or its contents in your kitchen or where any food preparation may take place.

  • Disinfect the sink, tub, or counter you use to clean these items immediately after cleaning them to reduce the potential of disease-causing organisms being transmitted to you or anything you may use in the near future.

  • Supervise children around the reptile.

  • If your nonvenomous reptile bites or scratches you, wash the injured area immediately with a disinfecting soap and then apply a topical antibiotic ointment. If any signs of infection (such as redness, swelling, pus, or fever) develop, contact a doctor as soon as possible.

  • Do not keep venomous reptiles.

  • Take your reptile to a veterinarian and have the reptile tested for potentially harmful organisms.