How Do Iguana Diseases Spread?

Like other reptiles, iguanas are known to carry bacteria harmful to humans. Their intestines harbor Salmonella, and they are capable of spreading the bacteria to every surface they touch, body of water they jump into, and curious hand that touches them. Since they are often kept as exotic pets, it’s important to be aware of this and follow safe handling practices. Iguanas also live in feral populations in some areas of the country, especially Florida.

Common Iguana Diseases

Salmonellosis is an infection caused by exposure to Salmonella bacteria. The illness is often transmitted by exposure to tainted food and water or by touching an infected animal and not washing hands properly. Iguanas are common carriers of the disease, passing it through their feces and saliva. Side-effects for most people include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Thankfully, this iguana disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics. However, if not diagnosed and medicated, the infection may be fatal.


Even without touching an iguana, it’s possible to pick up their disease-causing bacteria. In fact, most people contract iguana diseases through the pests’ feces. Iguanas leave behind their foul-smelling droppings wherever they bask in the sun. Since lawns are a favorite place, it’s easy to accidentally come in to contact with their waste. Step carefully in iguana-infested yards to avoid tracking bacteria-filled droppings into the house, wash hands thoroughly after gardening, and do not drink from or swim in water frequented by iguanas.

Safety & Removal

While their whip-like tails, intimidating size, and serrated teeth may seem like reason enough to avoid touching these pests, iguana diseases provide the best excuse to stay far away. Since they are not overly concerned with staying out of their own feces, their skin is often infected with Salmonella. As a result, any trapping or handling of the pests is not recommended without proper training and protection. To avoid possible illness, call the team at Critter Control to handle iguana removal.

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