If you look around Petco in Quincy, you'll many little creatures lurking under rocks and peeping out to get a look at a potential new friend.
While these little ones can be a lot of fun, they can also pose a danger if you don't take proper precautions.
Last year, the CDC says 20 people caught a rare but serious form of Salmonella poisoning. One person even died. Investigators say these were linked to contact with hedgehogs kept as pets.
But it's not just hedgehogs. Petco Manager John Masters says its more common to catch salmonella poisoning from reptiles and animals that hang around in the water. He says you shouldn't worry too much, as long as you follow some simple guidelines.
"Little girls might try to kiss a frog or boys carrying turtles around or catching them out of the ponds or creeks by their house," said Petco manager John Masters. "Baby turtles especially are the highest risk carriers of Salmonella."
Masters says these types of animals can pass on the Salmonella bacteria when proper care is not taken to prevent it.
"It's always a good idea to keep hand sanitizer next to the cage so that they have friends over real quick after they're done looking at them or playing with it they can do that at least," said Masters.
Masters adds that you should wash your hands when you're done playing with the creatures using warm water and soap. Don't wash or clean their cage in the sink, and certainly don't let them scamper around where you prepare or serve food. He also says that keeping their cage or tank clean is important as well.
Masters says Salmonella is usually spread when the pets waste gets in your system.
The CDC says pets that most commonly carry the bacteria are frogs, toads, turtles, snakes, lizards, chicks, and ducklings.
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