Reptiles are all the rage. Mochi the bearded dragon is a viral sensation, withover 1.8 million views on YouTube. Meanwhile, Chris Pratt is singing to hisbearded dragon while walking it on a leash, and he is just one of many othercelebrities with pet reptiles. It is obvious that having reptiles as pets hasgained popularity in recent years.

But there is a growing number of people opposed to owning these animals aspets. Their concerns range from reptiles posing a serious danger to publichealth to beliefs about reptiles being too cold to love. Why do reptiles get abad rap?

Reptile-borne diseases

Critics of reptile pet ownership often state that reptiles are riddled withdiseases, and while it is true that reptiles do harbor disease, the risk isoften far lower than people realize. This fear may be due to outbreaks ofsalmonella in people that occurred nearly half a century ago: In the 1970s,turtles suddenly became a popular pet, and reptile-borne salmonella incidencesincreased, representing about 11 percent of all human cases.

In North America, people are more likely to acquire salmonella from consuminganimal products. Education campaigns and legislation in the 1990s led to asignificant reduction in reptile-borne salmonella, decreasing it to just sixpercent of cases.

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