Do your homework before buying a reptile or amphibian. Consider the following: Do you have the time and money to feed and care for it? Do you have allergies? Reptiles and amphibians are low-risk, allergy-wise, but not risk-free. Will children be around the pet (some herps are poisonous)?

Probably the best-known herp disease risk is salmonella, which reptiles and amphibians carry on the body. If you handle a herp and then eat something straight from your hand, touch your lips, or kiss someone on the lips, you risk infecting yourself or that person. To prevent spreading salmonella, simply wash your hands after handling your herp to minimize any risk of salmonella infection.

Other safety considerations when purchasing a herp include his temperament, his response to humans, and whether he's likely to escape from his cage:

Safety factor Turtle Snake Lizard Frog Salamander
Speed of movement Slow Fast Fast Fast Slow
Ability to escape caging Low High Medium Medium Low
Calmness of temperament Calm Medium Medium Nervous Calm
Positive response to humans High Neutral Medium Neutral Neutral

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Kevin Felner, MD, an expert in pulmonary and critical-care medicine, is an assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine. Meg Schneider is an award-winning writer with more than two decades of experience. Schneider has coauthored five For Dummies books.

This article can be found in the category: