Multiple online posts have urged people to remove geckos from their homes because they are allegedly dangerous and carry deadly bacteria.
The claim is false and experts say not only are geckos safe, but they control the spread of insects and bugs that are otherwise a domestic nuisance.
The claim is that wall or house geckos should be killed because they are dangerous. This danger supposedly stems from geckos carrying lethal germs.
To avoid salmonella infection, don’t kiss your gecko pet!
What the experts say
The claims are false and the truth is that geckos pose no threat to people.
Dr. Jeanne Tarrant, programme manager for the Threatened Amphibian Programme at the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa, said that geckos are not harmful to humans and “actually provide a service by eating insects and spiders around your house”.
“Humans and house geckos have been living alongside each other for hundreds if not thousands of years, with no detriment to humans. It really would not be recommended to try and eliminate them from your home.”
geckos are not harmful to humans and “actually provide a service by eating insects and spiders around your house
Professor Aaron M. Bauer, a biodiversity specialist at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, United States and a world authority on geckos — he has a species named after him — echoed Tarrant’s comments.
Biting, he said, is highly unusual in geckos and, in any event, nothing more than an unpainful nip on the off-chance you try to handle one.
Salmonella transmission is similarly unlikely, he said.
“Geckos, like many reptiles, can carry salmonella although such transmission is not common and it is easily avoided.
“Geckos are probably less likely to transmit salmonella than other reptiles that have larger, wetter faecal material.
“Regarding the toothbrush, if you found gecko faeces on it, you should wash it off, just as you would if you found any foreign matter on it.”
if you found gecko faeces on your toothbrush, just wash it off
On the topic of salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer tips to avoid infection.
One piece of advice is not to kiss lizards — the same goes for “cats, dogs, chickens, turtles … or other pets and animals”.