Do Iguanas Carry Diseases?

Favored as pets for their bright colors and calm disposition, iguanas have been in demand on the American pet market for the past two decades. Although not native to the US, feral populations have become prevalent in Florida, Hawaii, and Texas due to irresponsible owners. This puts residents in danger because the pests can spread several diseases. The most common iguana diseases are salmonellosis and botulism, while others include leptospirosis, campylobacteriosis (a bowel infection), and trichinellosis (a muscle and nervous system disease).

Health Problems Caused by Iguanas

Most reptiles carry a variety of bacteria that are beneficial to them but harmful to mammals like humans and pets. Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of healthy iguanas, so their droppings are commonly infected. The illness can lead to severe nausea and dehydration. Another iguana disease with flu-like symptoms, botulism results from infection by a bacterium on the pests’ skin. While human cases are rare, the illness is fairly common in dogs and may lead to paralysis. As if this weren’t enough, iguanas attract raccoons, snakes, and other predators that come with a host of their own diseases and dangers.

Avoiding Iguana Diseases

The most common iguana disease is salmonellosis, which can only be contracted by humans through fecal-oral transmission. Therefore, prevention begins with cleanliness. After handling pet iguanas, it is essential to wash hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Feral iguanas, on the other hand, should be dealt with by professionals. Labeled as an invasive species in all three states where they currently thrive, the pests have strict laws regulating their capture and release. Trutech has the equipment and training to safely and efficiently remove iguanas from lawns.