It is natural for pet owners to show affection to their pet animals. While some pets like cats and dogs may love these gestures, it is not welcomed by many creatures. Can I kiss my bearded dragon? This is a common question from pet owners, especially if they have not kept a dragon as a pet before.
Bearded dragons are not as social as many other animals. They like an occasional cuddle but it is best not to pat them or hug them tight. Moreover, kissing them may cause some unwanted behavioral results. Let’s find out what happens if you kiss your bearded dragon.
Kissing Your Bearded Dragon Is A Bad Idea
Bearded dragons have coarse skin at the top and they shed it every few months. You should avoid kissing your pet dragon because you can get salmonella bacteria and that can be poisonous. Bearded dragons have salmonella bacteria in their excretion, which means that it can be present on their skin. Even if you bathe your dragon every time it defecates, you can contract this bacteria if you touch them with your lips.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Have Bacteria On Them?
Even if your dragon is clean and you ensure that their tank is tidy and hygienic all the time, these creatures can have some bacteria on them, which grows rapidly.
When bearded dragons eat insects and other protein-rich foods, minute amounts of salmonella bacteria grow in their intestinal tract. Did you know that even humans have small amounts of salmonella bacteria in their intestines? However, when these reptilians and all other creatures that have this bacteria in their intestines defecate, the bacteria move out of their body. Since animals are not as hygienic as humans, this bacteria can grow on their skins.
While hygiene and proper cleansing are part of pet keeping, you should beware of handling your dragon in your hands, and placing them near your face. Younger children and elders with a compromised immune system might fall ill sooner because they cannot fight the bacteria as well as healthy adults. It is always best to follow some hygiene after you hold the dragon pet.
It is advised that pet owners must keep their dragon pets away from their food, kitchens, and places where they eat so that they remain safe from any transfer of bacteria.
How Can Salmonella Transfer From Your Pet To You?
Even when you keep your bearded dragons clean, there are several ways in which the salmonella bacteria remain active on them.
Firstly, these reptiles eat their feces as a survival technique to keep their bodies immune. However disgusting that might seem to us humans, it is a natural way. When you pick up your pet dragon to kiss them, there is a chance that this bacteria is still around their mouth and they transfer it to your face or mouth. Bearded dragons eat their feces if you are not feeding them enough minerals and vitamins. Moreover, if there is any remaining undigested insect or vegetable in the feces, they will be able to smell them and eat them.
Secondly, a clean tank is mandatory and you may be following this rule to the core but there can be traces of feces on the food that is lying in the dish. As these bacteria multiply, your pet might be replenishing its existence on its skin through food!
Another way of salmonella bacteria existence is through the water dish. There can be a trace amount of feces there and they may remain on the dragon even after they have been cleaned.
Bearded dragons are not trained to stay away from their own waste and therefore, it is common for them to run through their feces, step on it or even scratch it. The traces inside nails, or between the skin folds can become a problem for pet owners who pick them and come in contact with them.
Can My Bearded Dragon Be Clean, Unlike Other Dragons?
All bearded dragons contain salmonella or are there any exceptions? The truth is that you would have to test them! However, since this is not possible it is best to stay away from kissing them or holding them every now and then. You can do so after you bathe them, and make them sit next to you but it will be better if you do not make them sit on you or near your food.
You must carry your bearded dragon with hygiene, which may include the use of a pair of gloves, or simply washing your hands afterward. Since all pets may carry salmonella cells, we often advise pet owners to ensure cleanliness even when their pet is clean. It is natural for you to think that since you keep these creatures so clean, they cannot get dirty and cannot be covered with bacteria. However, it is always better to be safe!
Some Related Questions
Will my bearded dragon get poisoned itself?
Bearded dragons have built-up immunity and do not fall ill if they have limited amounts of this bacteria. However, if this bacteria spread more than it usually does, they may fall ill quickly.
How can I keep my bearded dragon clean?
You can keep your pet dragon clean by bathing it regularly, cleaning it after it passes stool, and even keeping the tank clean at all times. Remove food and water from their tank once they have eaten and replace it with fresh water. Keep changing their water dish every few hours to ensure that it is clean.
Many pet owners want to show their affection to their pet dragons and if they have children at home, there is one common question that comes up, ‘Can I kiss my bearded dragon?’ The answer to this is that you must avoid it due to the salmonella bacteria that is found on their skin. Hygiene is essential, however, you cannot ensure that your dragon is 100% safe from it therefore, try to show your affection in other ways instead of kissing!
My name is Ashley, and I am an ardent bearded dragon owner. I have been writing about bearded dragons for the website for many months now, and each topic is close to my heart because it genuinely teaches me more as well. The enthusiasm of this team and the brilliance of the project make me write with more zeal.