Or Can I Pass Covid-19 On To My Bearded Dragon?
This question has come up on various online sources we’re involved with so we thought it would make sense to write a small article about it and try to answer it as best we can.
Before we start, we’d like to point out that the administrators of Bearded Dragons Rock are human Registered Healthcare Professionals. The information we provide in here is inline with the UK Government and NHS advice current at the time of writing. However, the situation is evolving almost daily and the advice may also change. For up to date advice on protecting yourself and your family please check https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ – do not rely on advice from non-official websites or social media. Official information for other countries is available at the bottom of this article.
Where Did Covid-19 Come From?
There’s a huge amount of speculation surrounding where Covid-19 (also known as Wuhan Novel Coronavirus) originated. It’s known of course that the geographic location was Wuhan in China. But there’s speculation that the virus jumped from an animal host to human host in or around the end of December of 2019.
Much information about Covid-19 is speculation at the time this article is written. Most academics in the subject appear to be of the opinion that Covid-19 originated in bats. There has been some speculation that it originated Pangolins and/or snakes. The evidence around this seems unreliable at best though.
If It Originated In Snakes, Can My Reptile Catch It?
Bear in mind, the notion that Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) originated in snakes is only a possibility. However, since it has been a question we’ve been asked, we’ve written this article to address the issue.
The truth though is, we really don’t know. If the virus originated in snakes and then jumped to humans (still a big if) then has the virus had to mutate in order to jump species? If it has, then it may no longer be compatible with a reptile host and may not pose any threat to your bearded dragon even if you get it.
If the virus hasn’t mutated in order to jump species then it is potentially possible that you could give the virus to your bearded dragon if you contract it yourself.
However, the truth is, we really don’t know.
What Can I Do To Minimize The Risks?
So far, the evidence appears to suggest that transmission of the Covid-19 variant of coronavirus follows the same patterns of infection as other Coronavirus family members. That is to say the virus is likely to be transmitted through contact with respiratory secretions from an infected host. These respiratory secretions can be propelled through the air by sneezing or coughing. There is potential for infection through saliva too.
With that in mind, the best way to avoid infecting your bearded dragon (bearing in mind we’re not saying it’s possible or not – we simply don’t know) is to practise good hygiene.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling your lizard.
- Cough into your flexed elbow (rather than your hand) or a tissue.
- Discard any used tissues into the bin immediately after you use them. Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after discarding the tissue.
- Regularly disinfect surfaces you’ve had contact with.
- Avoid mixing your dragons with other people’s pets.
- Touch your dragon without having washed your hands first.
- Touch your own eyes, nose or mouth without first washing your hands.
- Cough over your dragon or their enclosure without covering your mouth. Dragons are inquisitive creatures and use their tongue to taste their surroundings.
- Have visitors to your house handle your bearded dragon.
The advice given by the health authorities to control the spread of the coronavirus through the human population is good advice and can also be used to reduce any risk to your bearded dragon. Again though, we must stress that at the time of writing there is absolutely no evidence that humans can pass coronavirus to their pets.
Despite rumours that Covid-19 may have originated in reptiles, we feel that it’s highly unlikely your reptile is in any danger. If you become infected with Covid-19 your human family are at far greater risk of contracting it than your reptilian family. Follow the advice of the Health Authorities in your country for the best ways to avoid spreading it, and what to do if you get it.
Stay safe! Chin up, don’t panic and remember, this too shall pass!
If you have any thoughts around this please leave us a comment below.