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Salmonella is a digestive illness that is caused by ingesting certain bacteria. Many animals, including reptiles, carry salmonella bacteria. These bacteria occur in the digestive system of reptiles and are beneficial, as they help them digest their food. It is virtually impossible to remove salmonella bacteria from a reptile and attempting to do so would be extremely detrimental to his health. Instead of trying to remove the bacteria from your reptile, the easiest way to avoid contracting salmonella is by taking precautions in your care and handling of any reptile pet.
First, understand that salmonella is located in a reptile’s waste material. Because of the role these bacteria play in the digestive system, some are released in every defecation. Therefore, avoid contact with your reptile’s waste whenever possible. It is also a good idea to keep the cage very clean, helping your reptile to avoid contact with his waste, as well, another great preventative measure.
Whenever you handle a reptile, you should wash your hands immediately afterward, before touching anything else, particularly any other body part, such as your face or eyes. Also, keep your reptile’s cage in a location that is removed from food storage or preparation. If you clean the cage (or the reptile) in a bathtub or sink, follow any cleaning session with a soak of 10 to 20 percent bleach solution.
While it certainly is possible to get salmonella from a reptile, you are much more likely to get it from eating chicken or eggs. If you are infected by salmonella, don’t be alarmed, as most cases are not severe. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Keep yourself hydrated and seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen or last for more than 24 hours.
If you take the right precautions and remain aware of the threat of salmonella, you will significantly lower your risk of any health dangers and ensure lots of great times with your reptile pet.