Safety for Reptile Handling

Each kind of reptile is unique and thus requires different precautions when handling. While some creatures prefer or can tolerate extensive handling, others should only be touched when you need to conduct tasks such as changing their habitat or cleaning their tank.

Here are a few guidelines when it comes to the most popular pet reptiles:

Snakes
Small snakes need to be well supported if held off the ground. You should hold your hands to cup them or your arm for them to wrap themselves around securely. Larger snakes need a heftier support system and can use your torso to support their weight. With larger snakes, it is important to place the middle of the snake’s body bowed around your neck to balance your weight. We always recommend allowing any snake that you are handling to move freely rather than clamping down and restricting their movement.

Lizards
Due to their size, lizards typically feel threatened when you pick them up from above. To combat this concern, instead, place your hand flat on the surface to scoop them up instead of plucking them up by their bodies. For smaller lizards, aim to place your index finger between the front legs with the palm of your hand cupping the lizard’s body for support. If a lizard starts to thrash around, be careful not to squeeze its body as this can cause injury. Instead, allow it to roll around without dropping it, then swiftly place it back into its safe enclosure.

Turtles
Turtles like to have their feet on the ground so we don’t recommend you hold them frequently. If a turtle kicks its legs while in midair, this is a sign that the turtle is in duress and is searching for solid ground. If and when you do pick up a turtle, hold their bodies securely with two hands and don’t hold them by the edge of their shell.

Frogs and Other Amphibians
These unqiue pets should be handled only when absolutely necessary. Frogs and amphibians secrete toxins in their skin that can be dangerous to humans. Before handling, wash your hands well, and if possible put on a pair of latex gloves. Also, overhandling these creatures can dry out their skin so be sure to only touch them when you have to.

To avoid transferring germs to or from your reptilian pet, be sure to use Reptile Solutions® GermGone® before and after handling. The alcohol-free formula eliminates any chance of drying of their skin while eliminating 99.9% of common germs. Best of all you won’t have that overpowering smell most alcohol-based hand sanitizers leave with you.