Human Babies and Beardies

Hygiene is the key word when mixing pregnancy or even kids as well as adults with herps. There is nothing to fear from reptile-related salmonellosis if people at risk are careful about hygienic matters where reptiles are concerned. People at risk include pregnant women, babies, children, the elderly and anyone immunocompromised for any reason. Of course, any human or domestic other pet (dog, cat) can also get salmonella. It’s a matter of some common sense measures which are a good idea in any case.

The CDC, not trusting the average person to take common sense measures, therefore as a matter of record advises that households with people at risk should not contain reptiles, amphibians or other pets that could put them at increased risk from salmonella. Is this overkill? Yes, for some. But they have to look at the big picture and cover themselves.

Insofar as cat litter boxes are concerned, this is also true as histoplasmosis is endemic in cats and transmitted in their feces. It can thwart a pregnancy as well as make infants and small children very ill. Again common sense measures should be employed. Don’t inhale the litter dust, use liners, gloves, and wash up afterwards. I suggest that if litter boxes must be emptied by people at risk, they also wear a disposable face mask each time as this organism is readily inhaled.


At one point the Federal government was toying with the banning of broad ranges of herps (like the baby turtle ban which is still in effect) because of this. There were many heavily publicized cases and deaths in infants from salmonella-related sepsis. Thanks to the education program on the above website and a similar program put out by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), these numbers have dropped to where banning herps was no longer a concern. All of us in the hobby want to keep it that way! Do what you must. If you can’t commit to following protocols on this, then get rid of your herps if you’re pregnant or have babies around. It will be better for the babies and better for the herpers if there is one less (publicized) case. Thank you.

Postscript: I am happy to report that there have been NO publicly recorded cases of human salmonella related to bearded dragons but the germ has been cultured in some animals. I believe it is not nearly as prevalent in bearded dragons compared to Iguanids and Turtles.

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

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