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Do Reptiles and Amphibians Make Good Pets?

Millions of people keep snakes, lizards, and turtles as pets, but that doesn’t mean that the practice is beneficial to those creatures. In fact, herpetologist Clifford Warwick reported in a 2017 issue of Veterinary Record that 75 percent of reptiles die during their first year in a home environment. Warwick said that at least 30 signs of behavioral stress are regularly observed in “captive reptiles,” all linked to poor care, leading to what he called “controlled deprivation.”

Not like the family dog:

  • According to Warwick, it is impossible to guarantee that a reptile kept at home will be free from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, and fear, or that it will exhibit normal behavior.
  • Reptiles can spread illnesses to humans. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites can enter through a caretaker’s mouth, or be transmitted through a break in the skin.
  • One of the most common diseases spread from reptiles to humans is salmonella. Other possible ailments include botulism, campylobacteriosis, leptospirosis, worms, and ticks.
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