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Archives: Reptiles

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Sssnakes and Sssalmonella

Posted in Reptiles
The fact that Salmonella and reptiles go together is old news. I often get questions about testing reptiles to see if they are Salmonella carriers and I tell people not to bother since even with a negative result, I’d consider the animal to be positive. A recent study in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife… Continue Reading

Turtles, Santa and pre-Christmas returns

Posted in Reptiles
I received an email from a relative the other day with a pet question. I get lots of these, but the surprising part is this relative doesn’t have any pets (and I think is generally of the opinion that pets are okay, as long as they’re not hers). She was asking about turtles. As a… Continue Reading

Salmonella in zoo education reptiles

Posted in Reptiles
There was a picture in the weekend edition of the Guelph Tribune of a 3-year-old girl with a large python wrapped around her as part of a nature show put on by the Guelph Lake Nature Centre. While I’m certain I’ll face more wrath from the keep-reptiles-in-schools group that is currently bashing me on the… Continue Reading

Reptile rage

Posted in Reptiles
I get a lot of emails about this blog. Some are complementary, some… well… not so much. When it comes to the latter group, the most common (and often the most grammatically-challenged) group is raw meat feeders. They’re a constant source of interesting comments about my intelligence and other aspects of my life. Some actually provide… Continue Reading

Elementary school reptile club: good, bad or ugly

Posted in Reptiles
Today’s Toronto Star has an article about a reptile club in a Toronto Elementary School. Teacher Jim Karkavitsas runs a session every day that teaches students about a range of reptiles. His menagerie has expanded from one snake five years ago to more than 40 different species in his classroom. Some are loaned out to… Continue Reading

Salmonella in baby from pet reptile

Posted in Reptiles
.A five-month-old Britich baby was hospitalized with salmonellosis that was presumably acquired from a family pet. The baby developed severe diarrhea and was rushed to hospital. Fortunately, the child has recovered, something that’s far from assured in such cases, since salmonellosis can be life-threatening in infants. As expected, an investigation followed the diagnosis of salmonellosis.… Continue Reading

Pet turtles and Salmonella…why am I not surprised?

Posted in Reptiles
The CDC has announced an investigation of three multistate outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pet turtles. At last report, 66 affected people had been identified, and since most outbreaks like this only identify a minority of cases, it’s safe to assume there are many others. Three different types of Salmonella have been implicated; S. Sandiego, S.… Continue Reading

Salmonella from turtles…again

Posted in Reptiles
Yet another outbreak of salmonellosis traced back to pet turtles has been investigated by CDC and Pennsylvania’s State Health Department. Pet turtles are notorious Salmonella vectors, for several reasons, including the fact that small aquatic turtles very commonly carry the bacterium, they are marketed towards young kids (who are increased risk of infection), and people… Continue Reading

Bearded dragon leads to gravy Salmonella contamination

Posted in Reptiles
No, not gravy made from bearded dragons (a type of reptile), but foodborne Salmonella with a link to the reptile. Reptiles are an important source of Salmonella, which is why standard guidelines recommend that high-risk people (e.g. children less than 5 years of age, elderly individuals, people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women) not have… Continue Reading

More snake smuggling

Posted in Reptiles
I avoided the "snakes on a plane" title, as ever since the (bad) Samuel L. Jackson movie came out, every reptile smuggling headline seems to use use it. Regardless, would you like to be on a long trans-Atlantic flight with 247 smuggled animals, including a collection of venomous vipers? Probably not. Fortunately for passengers on… Continue Reading

Never upset the local snake charmer

Posted in Reptiles
Maybe the Occupy movement should take some tips from an Indian man who expressed his frustration with government corruption by releasing venomous snakes into a government office. Upset by the slow pace of the bureaucracy and demands for bribes, the man (the local snake charmer) dumped 40 snakes, including 4 cobras, onto the floor of… Continue Reading

Illegal alligators attract women? Who knew?

Posted in Reptiles
I guess I’m lucky I’m married since I’m obviously out of touch with the best ways to attract women. Unlike Dewayne Yarborough of Ford Heights, Illinois, I didn’t know that a 4-foot-long alligator is a "chick magnet." His reason for keeping the reptile was that he claimed it attracted women (I kid you not).  While… Continue Reading

Flesh eating disease from a turtle?

Posted in Reptiles
A UK hairdresser is recovering from necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) that was linked to his pet turtle. The problem started when he cut his finger while cleaning out the turtle’s tank. An infection developed, which isn’t too surprising since a turtle terrarium is full of a variety of bacteria. However, instead of a mild, local infection,… Continue Reading

Anyone seen a cobra?

Posted in Reptiles
The Bronx Zoo has closed it’s reptile house following the disappearance of an Egyptian cobra. Officials noticed the 20-inch-long snake was missing on Saturday, and they are presumably carrying out a diligent and very careful search. There’s probably no risk to the public (as long as the snake wasn’t stolen). It’s likely curled up hiding… Continue Reading

Beware of the “Rango” effect

Posted in Reptiles
When a particular animal species or breed gets a lot of attention, such as through a popular movie or TV show, there’s sometimes a major increase in people wanting one as a pet. The proliferation of Dalmatians after 101 Dalmatians, and people buying Jack Russell terriers in response to Eddie from Frasier are only two… Continue Reading

Botulism from a pet reptile

Posted in Reptiles
I’ve been slow getting around to this topic, which has been covered elsewhere (on Barfblog), but it’s an interesting report and one that’s still worth discussing. The report from Ireland involves diagnosis of botulism in a baby that was associated with a pet turtle and/or the turtle’s feed. Botulism is a very serious disease caused… Continue Reading

Tegus and Salmonella

Posted in Reptiles
Tegus are large South American lizards that are sometimes kept as pets. As with other reptiles, Salmonella is a concern, as highlighted by a recent study in the journal Zoonoses and Public Health (Maciel et al. 2010). In that study, the authors tested feces of 30 captive-born tegus. From the first round of samples, they… Continue Reading

Salmonella and iguanas: a rebuttal

Posted in Reptiles
Here’s a comment from a well-meaning but ultimately misinformed reader. I’m commenting on it because these misconceptions are not uncommon. "This blog post appears to be based on inadequate knowledge of iguanas. I am an iguana keeper and have been for several years.  Unlike many reptiles, iguanas do not carry salmonella on their skin and… Continue Reading

Reptile warning changes proposed in Texas

Posted in Reptiles
The Texas Department of State Health Services has proposed a series of changes to warnings that are already required of retailers that sell reptiles. The warnings are focused on prevention of salmonellosis, and retailers must post signs and provide written warnings to anyone buying a reptile about the risk of salmonellosis from reptiles. Signs must… Continue Reading

Kids, reptiles and Salmonella: Merseyside, UK

Posted in Reptiles
The UK’s Health Protection Agency is warning families who own reptiles about the risks of Salmonella, following the diagnosis of salmonellosis in 9 Merseyside children in the past 6 months. All the affected kids had direct or indirect contact with reptiles. Three of them (all less than three years of age) were hospitalized. One of… Continue Reading

Another service animal scam

Posted in Reptiles
An Ocean City, Maryland man was told that he couldn’t take his pet iguana on the Boardwalk because of a town ordinance banning "undomesticated" pets in public places. Instead of accepting the ruling, he "registered" his pet iguana as a "service animal". Protection of true service animals is critical but the very broad nature of… Continue Reading

Frozen mice recall: Salmonella

Posted in Reptiles
MiceDirect, a company that sells frozen mice, rats and chicks as reptile feed, has issued a recall because of Salmonella contamination of their product. Contaminated critters have been sold across the US (except Hawaii) through mail order and pet stores, and recalled product codes can be found in the FDA recall notice. Contamination isn’t a… Continue Reading

Turtle on a plane…but not for long

Posted in Reptiles
It’s not likely going to spark a Hollywood movie, but a turtle on a plane triggered a lot of angst and controversy in the US recently. A 10-year-old girl was traveling with her pet turtle, Neytiri, on an AirTran flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee. The airline has a no-reptiles policy (actually, a no-pets-at-all-in-the-cabin policy) and… Continue Reading