Hidden Dangers of Unusual Pets

What to know about guinea pigs, snakes, ferrets, iguanas and more
ferret Photo: otsphoto/Shutterstock
boy holding guinea pig
gerbil
ferret
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green iguana
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Ferrets

Playful and entertaining, ferrets — members of the weasel family — have become popular pets. You’ll even see people walking them on leashes. Like rodents, ferrets can carry salmonella, so they’re not a good idea if you have kids under 5. Don’t let your ferret into the kitchen or anywhere else you prepare or serve food. According to the CDC, you should wash your ferret’s cage, water containers and toys outside of the house to prevent spreading salmonella. The CDC also advises against kissing these pets and eating or drinking around them. Ferrets may bite or scratch if they’re handled roughly, such as by an overzealous child or a young child with poor motor skills.