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Handling Reptiles

Handling Reptiles

Keeping it clean, keeping it safe

Reptiles make great companions. Without a doubt, your reptile has become a member of your family. One of the best ways to connect with your reptiles is to hold them or introduce them to others. However, it is important to use safe handling practices. All species of reptiles can carry diseases like salmonella. For the health of you and your herp, follow these instructions to reduce the risk of spreading diseases when handling or cleaning your reptile’s habitat.

Always wash your hands thoroughly

Use soap and water, a sanitizer or anti-bacterial gel after coming in contact with any reptile or reptile habitat.

Keep a disinfectant on hand

If you will be handling reptiles outside your home or in an area that lacks proper washing facilities, you will want to bring your own disinfectant.

Be extra careful around children

If transporting your reptile to a classroom, make sure there’s an area for proper hand washing. Do not take a reptile to a kindergarten or daycare class for show-and-tell. If taken to school, do not allow the children to touch the pet.

Keep habitats clean

Maintain clean reptile enclosures, water and food bowls, décor and other surfaces.

Wear proper cleaning protection

Wear rubber, latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves and wash hands thoroughly when you are done.

Use bleach and use it a lot

Disinfect the habitat with a diluted bleach solution (one-half cup of bleach to one gallon of warm water). Let the bleach solution remain for ten minutes on all surfaces and all food bowls, water dishes, hide huts, etc. and then thoroughly rinse with warm water. Let items dry completely before placing the pet and the contents back in the habitat.

Keep an eye on young children

Ensure children, especially under the age of five, wash their hands immediately after handling pet reptiles, habitats or bedding.

Beware of cuts

If you have open sores or cuts on your hands, do not handle your reptile or habitat furnishings. Wear rubber gloves.

Reptiles and mouths don’t mix

Never let your mouth come into contact with your reptile. For example, some people like to give their reptile an occasional affectionate kiss. This is a practice we do not recommend as its can transmit a disease to the person kissing the animal.

Keep reptiles out of the kitchen

When it comes to your reptile, food-preparation areas should be off limits. Kitchen sinks and bathtubs should not be used to bathe reptiles, clean habitats or wash reptile items. If it is your only access to water, remove all materials used to cook, prepare or serve food. Disinfect the area thoroughly with a mild bleach solution when finished.

Do not handle dishes, pots, pans or other utensils

If you have been handling your reptile, do not come into contact with equipment used for preparing food until you have thoroughly washed your hands.

Do not let them roam unsupervised

Your reptile should not be allowed to roam freely throughout your house. Without supervision, you have no idea what may have been contaminated.

Separate reptiles and high-risk individuals

Persons at an increased risk of infection should avoid contact with reptiles and reptiles should be kept out of their households. This includes young children, the elderly, pregnant women or women who are attempting to become pregnant.

"Follow these guidelines to provide a safe and fun environment for your reptile, friends and family."