Gecko Blogging

Monday, July 11, 2005

I'm still swamped, but I can't resist posting the following, from a recent email exchange with one of my brothers. Over email, we often call each other "Homeslice 1" (That would be me. I'm the oldest.) and "Homeslice 2" (That would be this brother, the second oldest.) Where did we get "Homeslice"? Don't ask.

Anyway, this is a good story that tells itself, and all I have to do is cut-and-paste for the most part. This is good, 'cause that's about all I can afford to do today, timewise. Also, maybe it's me, but our differing email styles crack me up when juxtaposed like this.

This will take the form of a dialogue, with each speaker's bit being from the contents of an email.

Homeslice 2: these guys live on my front porch and come out at night.

Homeslice 1: Sal and Mandy

Homeslice 2: are these geckos?

Homeslice 1: If I you believe the image I got here, then yes.

Otherwise, I know nothing about Geckos.

This is better. Looks like you ought to join.

Oh. And watch out for that hurricane if you aren't already. This map indicates it's heading right at you and will still be hurricane strength when it gets there.

Homeslice 2: yes, dennis is coming right up our pipe......I have more geckos in the basement and opened the kitchen drawer one time and saw one.

[A couple of hours elapse....]

Homeslice 1: The one in the kitchen could be a problem.

Reptiles often carry salmonella.

Homeslice 2: WHO SAYS!

Homeslice 1: They do. And it might be worse than I thought.

Excerpt. The last two sentences are choice.

More than 90% of reptiles can be fecal carriers of Salmonella, usually with no symptoms of infection. Reptiles can become infected either through direct contact with other infected reptiles, with contaminated reptile feces, or through maternal transmission. High rates of Salmonella in the feces of hatchlings are related to ingestion of feces, a common practice among iguanas and lizards. Humans can be exposed to these germs from contact with the environments these reptiles inhabit. Salmonella survives well in the environment and can be isolated for prolonged periods from contaminated surfaces. For this reason, the CDC explains, even minimal indirect contact with reptiles can result in illness.

During the early 1970s, small pet turtles were a major course of Salmonella infections in the U.S. In 1975, the Food and Drug Administration banned commercial distribution of small turtles (less than 4 inches long). However, reptiles remain popular pets in the U.S.: From 1991 to 2001, the estimated number of households with reptiles doubled from approximately 850,000 to 1.7 million.

Increasing evidence suggests that amphibians (including frogs and toads, newts, and salamanders) also can pose risks for salmonellosis in humans. Overall, reptile and amphibian contacts are estimated to account for 74,000 (6%) of the approximately 1.2 million sporadic Salmonella infections that occur each year in the U.S. And, although the most common diseases in humans related to reptiles and amphibians are due to transmission of various species of Salmonella, some reptiles and amphibians also can secrete toxins, transmit various pathogens and toxins via bite wounds, and cause trauma and pain by biting.

Salmonellosis, from any source, is not a disease to be taken lightly. The bottom line in deciding whether an iguana or other reptile is right for your family is first to consider the ages and overall health of your loved ones. Then, if you decide to go ahead, consistently practice meticulous hygiene, such as washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling reptiles or their cages. To prevent contamination of food-preparation areas, reptiles should be kept out of these areas. In particular, kitchen sinks should not be used to bathe reptiles or to wash reptile dishes, cages, or aquariums. If bathtubs are used for these purposes, they should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with bleach.
Homeslice 2: I DIG

Homeslice 1: I'm just loaded with mirth and cheer today, aren't I?

-- CAV

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