Reptiles and Amphibians | Healthy Pets Healthy People | CDC

The conservation and health of wild populations of amphibians and reptiles remain a major concern of our staff. These concerns are another reason for advising against wild-caught herps as pets. We urge you to leave local species in the wild in their own natural home. You are not rescuing a boxturtle when you pick it off the road and take it your home. Even if you plan to release it later, you are unlikely to release it where you found it. Usually a released animal begins to search for its original home site and often dies in this search because of its increased exposure to predation and automobile traffic. Also, releasing an animal elsewhere has the potential of introducing a new disease into a nonresistant population. The preceding dangers apply to any herp from salamander to snake.

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Herpetological Societies & Rescues
Herpetological Societies are people who gather together in local communities to appreciate reptiles and amphibians. Members are usually a mix of people, ranging from keepers, scientists, and general reptile and amphibian enthusiasts. Because herpetoculturalism is a thriving industry around the world, one side effect has been the surplus of unwanted animals. In response to the growing numbers of abandoned reptiles and amphibians, most herpetological societies have an adoption system, where people can relinquish their pets and the society will seek out the best possible home for the any unwanted animals.

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If there are young children in your home, consider pets other than reptiles or amphibians for your family. You may be one of the many Americans who owns a pet reptile or amphibian. Reptiles, such as corn snakes, iguanas, and red-eared sliders, and amphibians, such as frogs and toads, are unique creatures and can make for interesting pets. But pet reptiles and amphibians carry some risks to their owners, such as the potential for Salmonella infection. The reptiles and amphibians themselves as well as the feeder rodents fed to some of these animals can be sources of Salmonella infection for people.

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These germs can be found in the feces or droppings of many different animals, such as reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and chickens, or in the areas where these animals live and roam. These germs can also be found in the aquarium water where certain animals, like turtles or water frogs, live as pets.

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Thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of people keep amphibians or reptiles as pets. We understand this fascination with frogs, lizards, and other herps; however, because of it, we advocate observing them in nature and leaving them in their natural homes. We discourage anyone from keeping an amphibian or a reptile as a pet. To the Editor:Salmonella spp. infection represents a major public health problem in the United States; nearly 1.4 million human cases and 600 associated deaths are reported each year (). Reptile and amphibian exposures might cause >70,000 of these cases annually (). Furthermore, children are at increased risk of acquiring Salmonella spp. and experiencing severe manifestations of disease (,). Given the increasing popularity of reptiles and amphibians as pets, reptile- and amphibian-associated salmonellosis is a substantial public health concern ().