According to the CDC, millions of American households own a pet reptile or amphibian. Reptiles include lizards, snakes and turtles while amphibians include species like salamanders, frogs and caecilians. Here are 7 things you can do to keep your pets, yourself, and your children healthy and happy. The following recommendations are drawn from the CDC for healthy amphibian and reptile care.
1) Wash your hands after playing with your pet.
One of the most enjoyable aspects to pet ownership is the ability to play with them. Perhaps your children love taking the family pet lizard, “Duke”, out of the tank and letting him climb around a little bit on their hands and the floor surrounding the tank. It is fun to see your pet move and exciting for it to be out of the cage. This is a healthy form of play for both your pet, for you, and for your children.
With this in mind it is always important to wash your hands clean after contact with your pet reptile or amphibian. This includes contact with your pet, contact with the habitat your pet lives in, and or contact with water from your terrarium, vivarium, or aquarium.
2) Keep your pet’s habitat out of the kitchen.
This is true for any and all food and drink handling areas, as well as areas where food and drink are regularly consumed such as a dining room or living room. Due to the potential to spread bacteria such as Salmonella, the CDC recommends not placing terrariums or aquariums in rooms that contain food or food preparation, or where drinks are prepared or consumed.
3) Keep your pet’s habitat out of the playroom, or nursery.
For the same reason as above, do not place your vivarium near or at locations where children under the age of five may frequent, such as a playroom, or nursery. Although for kids the thrill of having a pet provides awe and wonder, and scientific curiosity about these different looking creatures, it is important to locate your pet’s habitat away from any part of your house or office that may be designed for young children to play.
Amphibians can be a great source of joy for your kids. Perhaps, as a child, you might remember with fascination how your chameleon was able to change the color of its skin, or your turtle was able to tuck its head all the way inside its shell. These are features of your pet that increase interest in the species and develop a healthy curiosity for nature.
However it is important to know if and when your children are playing with your pet, and to instruct them in proper pet care, such as not touching the pet’s water, or other habitat areas, and being certain to wash their hands directly after handling the pet itself.
This is also true for persons with weak immune systems, which can include elderly people or persons suffering from other immune system deficiencies such as HIV/AIDS, or who are currently undergoing chemotherapy.
4) Provide a cozy and secure habitat for your pet.
Keeping your pet comfortable, warm and relaxed can decrease any potential anxiety your pet may feel, thereby reducing stress and the compound factors that stress in your pet can lead to, such as illness. One of the added benefits of a BioPod is that the preferences of your pet’s habitat are automated, and guarantee a well functioning system based on over fifty years of pet care and research.
Biopod offers a variety of habitats for various types of pets such as lizards, snakes or turtles, and bases the atmospheric settings of these habitats and its characteristics on your pet’s preferences for the same occurring in a nature. By approximating the conditions of nature – a process called biomimicry – Biopod provides your pet with the highest-quality comfort available in pet care.
5) Regularly visit your veterinarian.
A veterinarian cannot stop the production of Salmonella in your reptile. A reptile naturally produces the bacteria Salmonella, and this is considered a healthy bacteria and byproduct of its life. However, by visiting your local herpetologist, (a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles and amphibians), on a regular basis, you can remain confident in the fact that your pet’s health is being monitored and you are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both your pet, yourself and your family.
6) Keep it in the cage.
It is not a good idea to let your pet roam free throughout your living quarters, or even secure outdoor areas. By restricting your pet’s ability to move throughout your home, and or outdoor areas (which could lead to potentially hazardous contact with wildlife) you reduce any chance of spreading germs, and contaminating your home with unwanted bacteria.
7) If bitten or scratched, wash with warm soapy water immediately.
If you or your loved ones should suffer a nip or a scratch from your amphibian or reptile, even if it is small and seemingly no big deal, be sure to clean the affected area immediately with warm soapy water.
If the wound is serious, depicts redness, swollenness, or is otherwise agitated or aggravating, seek medical attention immediately. Also, keep an eye on your pet after the incident, and if it seems sick or is displaying unusual behavioral characteristics, visit your veterinarian for a consultation.
Hopefully these seven healthy habits for amphibian and/or reptile care provide you with further insight into how to enjoy your pet, provide it and your family the safest and healthiest living conditions, and to rest easy that you are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure health for your pet, yourself, and your loved ones.
If you would like to learn more information for you or your children listen to the following short informational podcasts provided by the CDC, including, “Don’t Kiss A Frog!”, its Spanish version, “No Beses al Sapo!”, or consider, “Water, Frogs, Aquarium and Salmonella, Oh My!”, and/or “The Trouble with Turtles.”
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