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Do All Lizards Have Salmonella? (Or Just Rumors?)

If you have heard people say that lizards have salmonella you may be panicking and wondering if this could apply to your lizard…

Do all lizards have salmonella?

Most reptiles carry salmonella. This is found in their intestinal tract. However, they tend to eliminate it through their feces. So, if you have a pet lizard, the chances are it has some salmonella. But, with the correct understanding of how to manage this. many owners keep them without problems.

So, now you know. But, how can you be sure if your lizard has this? How can you prevent getting salmonella poisoning from your lizard? Is salmonella actually a disease, or what? Keep reading to get these answers, and much more…

How do I know if my lizard has salmonella?

Do all lizards have salmonella?

A vet holding a lizard.

The best way to know if your lizard has salmonella, which does not cause them harm, by the way, is to inspect their feces. This is not obvious unless you are trained to do so. This is necessary because it is stored internally and excreted through their feces, so that is the only way to see it from the outside of their body.

However, the salmonella is not a concern for your lizard. And, it is better to assume it has it rather than hassle yourself with confirming. The important thing is to know how to avoid contaminating yourself with it so you can live with it.

Truthfully speaking if you have other pets, like dogs, it is best practice to manage the bacteria and germs they have as well. Meaning, you shouldn’t be stroking your dog, then immediately picking up food and placing it into your mouth, right? It is a similar practice with a lizard.

The main difference with other pets is these germs or bacteria are not discussed as much or even understood.

How easy is it to get salmonella from reptiles?

It is easy to get salmonella from reptiles. This is because all it takes is for the owner to come in contact with the reptile, their feces, or their equipment. For example, if your lizard leaves feces in its terrarium, and you then touch this area while you re-arrange one of its objects, you could contaminate yourself with salmonella.

Because touch is all it takes it is very easy for the bacteria to pass onto you. But, this can be managed with the correct knowledge of how to handle and care for your lizard. This is why there are so many happy lizard owners that do not complain of any issues.

How likely is it to get salmonella from a bearded dragon?

There is a strong possibility of getting salmonella from a bearded dragon if you do not know how to handle them. This is because, like any reptile, they are likely to be carrying salmonella bacteria that can be passed to us humans just by touch.

Whether you have a Bearded Dragon or a Leopard Gecko, they are reptiles. And, reptiles, like snakes, etc, are likely to be carrying this bacteria. So, it’s easier to assume they have it and control yourself correctly rather than altering them.

Can you get sick from touching a lizard?

You can get sick from contaminating yourself with salmonella bacteria from a lizard. However, it does not have to be the lizard directly, it could be its objects in its home, food it eats, etc. But, the key thing is to understand the risk and how to manage it to stay safe.

Salmonella is one of many bacterias or germs that are out there. This is why simple things like washing your hands are necessary. The problems tend to occur when people have pets, handle them then carry on with their day, eating, etc. Then put their hands in their mouth, without cleaning them first.

Simple things like hand washing after touching them, not eating directly after touching them, without washing your hands, etc can make a big difference.

What animals carry Salmonella?

Several animals carry salmonella such as lizards, frogs, snakes, turtles, etc. They all have the potential to pass on salmonella bacteria onto us humans with contact. Or, if we come in contact with their living environment, which will be frequently if you own one as a pet.

Skillful owners of these reptiles understand these risks and understand how to mitigate them so they can still have the pleasure of owning them.

Do all humans get infected with a lizard’s touch?

Not all humans will get a disease from touching lizards. Humans come into contact with many bacteria, including salmonella with little effect. This is because it may be in small volume and their immune system will handle them.

This is why you may see many people owning lizards or other reptiles, without any problems. It does not mean it’s not a risk. It is just worth understanding what you are touching and how to conduct yourself once you have done this.

What can happen if you get salmonella from a lizard?

If the salmonella disease is contracted from the bacteria there have been reports of bad stomach cramps, diarrhea, etc. However, there are some cases of it spreading to the bloodstream and causing serious illness.

However, it is important to understand that salmonella bacteria is not the same as the disease. Many lizard, or reptile, owners come into contact with the bacteria all the time and continue with their day. But, they often understand the risk and avoid making errors like putting their hands in their mouth after touching their pet.

Is salmonella a disease?

Salmonella is a bacteria but Salmonellosis is a disease that can be caused by it. So, there is a big difference. A lizard owner can come into contact with Salmonella bacteria daily and never get the Salmonellosis disease.

If you are unlucky and get the Salmonellosis disease people may get diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc. This can go on for about a week. But, it can get a lot worse if it spreads into their bloodstream. It can even get as bad as causing a fatality in some cases.

Is salmonella on lizards a big concern?

Salmonella on liards should be taken seriously. This is important because if you do not you may overlook the simple precautions needed to prevent getting sick from it. So, a lazy attitude towards it is not the right way forward.

Just understanding simple things like you shouldn’t touch them and then put your dirty hands near your mouth can make a big difference.

How can you prevent getting salmonella poisoning from your lizard?

To prevent salmonella poisoning from your lizard you need to reduce the risk of passing the bacteria into your body. This can be done by simply avoiding touching them and then placing your hands into your mouth. Or, simple things like avoiding eating around them.

If you think you can clean off the bacteria from the lizard, or cleanse them in some way, forget it. The only option is to manage your actions around them to keep yourself safe.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.