AVOID Kissing Your Pet Bearded Dragon, Says the CDC

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I can’t blame you if you regularly kiss, snuggle, hug, or even mingle with your bearded dragon. I mean, I do that too! Little did we know that doing so could be unhealthy for us owners.

A report from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday, January 11, stated that a salmonella outbreak in over 25 states has spread [1].

Bearded Dragon

In the past year, 44 people became ill, 15 of which were hospitalized –and the culprit? – Bearded dragons.

Luckily, there have been no reports of people losing their lives due to this.

In a similar report, the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians [2](ARAV) said that bearded dragons carry Salmonella germs in their droppings.

They might look healthy and clean, but these can spread to their bodies without us even noticing it.

Symptoms of Salmonella

If you’re not aware, there are a couple of symptoms you can identify to see if you’ve been infected with salmonella.

In the past year, 44 people became ill, 15 of which were hospitalized –and the culprit? – Bearded dragons.

These include fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

These symptoms usually start from six (6) hours to six (6) days after ingesting the bacteria, and in typical cases, you can expect recovery after four (4) to seven (7) days without treatment.

What to Do to Avoid Salmonella Spread If You Have a Beardie?

Avoiding this is a must as salmonella can worsen and be the wick of many different illnesses.

According to the CDC, you should follow a list of guidelines that would prevent you from getting it, as well as prevent its spread:

  1. Wash your hands properly using mild and antibacterial soap after touching or feeding your beardie, or even after touching the area where it roams and lives.
  2. Refrain from snuggling or kissing your bearded dragon.
  3. Never let your bearded dragon out in the place where you eat, sleep, or even where you rest and lie down.
  4. Avoid cleaning your beardie supplies inside the house.

The CDC also suggests keeping beardies out from homes with children under five (5) years old or adults over 65 since these age groups have the weakest immune systems.

So, always be wary of these things so that you can protect yourself and your family from the unwanted spread of the salmonella virus!


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/uganda-01-22/index.html
  2. https://arav.org/salmonella-bacteria-reptiles/

Hi, I’m Tamsin. I’m a serious animal lover and dog behaviorist and trainer. In fact, I live on a farm with nine rescues! So, I love writing about and creating awareness around the health and wellness of all animals. Find her on Linkedin. Read her latest articles Learn more about her HERE.

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