In what could be considered the no-brainer news announcement of the year, doctors are now warning that kids should not keep such "exotic" animals as hamsters, hedgehogs, lizards and turtles because of the risk for disease. Duh.
"Many parents clearly don't understand the risks from various infections" these animals often carry, said Dr. Larry Pickering, the report's lead author and an infectious disease specialist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As an example, Pickering says roughly 11% percent of cases of salmonella in children are believed to be caused by contact with lizards, turtles and other reptiles. Hamsters also can carry this germ, which can cause severe diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.
Hedgehogs are also extremely dangerous because their quills can penetrate skin and have been known to spread a bacteria that can cause fever, stomach pain and a rash.
If you already own one of these creatures, the study suggests you contact your vet to find out about specific risks to you and your family.