Children and Exotic Pets
Neuter Puppy
Exotic pets like Hamsters, Lizards, and Turtles can be wonderful additions to families, but according to a group of the nation's leading pediatricians, they may not be appropriate for young children. A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says that animals like Hamsters, Hedgehogs, Baby Chicks, Lizards and Turtles can carry dangerous and potentially deadly germs and are more likely than cats and dogs to bite, scratch, or claw. This puts children, particularly those under 5 years of age, at risk due to their developing immune systems and tendency to put their hands in their mouths.

Salmonella infection is of particular concern. Reptiles, rodents, fish, and baby poultry are all capable of spreading the infection, which can cause severe diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Along with the possibility of bacteria spreading on their hands and clothing, children tend to be rough with small animals, creating a risk for the pet as well.

To ensure the safety of your children with exotics, take the following measures:
  • Always supervise children while they interact with animals.
  • Ensure that children wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching animals. If the child is under 5, have an adult wash the child's hands.
  • Do not allow children to kiss animals or put their hands or other objects in their mouth after handling animals.
  • Keep family pets in good health and up-to-date on vaccinations.
  • Never touch wild animals or bring them home as pets.