Public urged to avoid touching green iguanas to avoid infections
People should avoid touching green iguanas, a reptile not native to Thailand, as their skin could be contaminated with the salmonella bacteria that causes diarrhoea, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has warned.
The department urged people to watch out for the reptile’s faeces that could also spread the bacteria to human foods and clothes.
The warning on Wednesday came after a recent report on the increasing number of green iguanas found in the Khao Phra Ya Dern Thong community in Phatthana Nikhom district of Lopburi province.
The herd of exotic reptiles has reportedly been ravaging farmers’ crops and harassing residents of the province in central Thailand.
The department said its veterinarian team had visited the community to collect samples from these iguanas. Lab tests will be done to find out if they carried any diseases.
The department added that the green iguana was listed among "category 1 controlled animals" under the Wild Animal Conservation and Protection Act of 2019. Unauthorised release of these animals into the wild is punishable with up to a six-month imprisonment or a 50,000 baht fine, or both.
“If you no longer want to keep your pet iguana, please contact the department, which will provide care for them instead,” said the announcement.
People can also report green iguana sightings at DNP hotline 1362.