Hidden Dangers of Unusual Pets

What to know about guinea pigs, snakes, ferrets, iguanas and more
boy holding guinea pig Photo: VikaRayu/Shutterstock
boy holding guinea pig
gerbil
ferret
ball python
green iguana
box turtle
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Unusual companions

People sometimes split into two camps: dog people or cat people. But many are neither. Instead they embrace other, more unusual pets, from reptiles to rodents. An estimated 3 percent of households in the United States own at least one reptile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unusual pets can pose unusual risks, however. Here’s what to know to keep you and your kids safe around your guinea pig, snake, iguana, turtle, bird or other unusual pets.