A recent (April, 2011) report that over 200 people contracted Salmonella from captive Dwarf Clawed Frogs (Hymenochirus boettgeri and H. curtipes) has pet owners concerned and seeking advice. The story has also re-ignited discussions about the wisdom of keeping African Clawed Frogs, Xenopus laevis, turtles and other amphibians and reptiles. Unfortunately, not all of the information that has been generated in response to the report is accurate, and much of it only serves to confuse pet-owners.
It is important to understand that any animal, be it insect, fish, frog, dog or bird, has the potential to transfer diseases (known collectively as zoonotic diseases) and parasites to humans. The FDA’s 1975 ban on the sale of turtles below 4 inches in length put a spotlight on reptiles (why they chose 4 inches as a cut-off only served to add to the confusion, incidentally!), but it is a serious mistake to regard them as the only animals capable of making us ill. Read More »