Health and disease in New Zealand reptiles

Some common diseases and health issues of captive reptiles and amphibians in New Zealand.


Diseases and infections are not uncommon in captive and wild reptile and amphibians in New Zealand. They often arise as a result of changes to environmental conditions and interactions between individuals. Some bacteria, such as Salmonella, can be very common in individuals of wild reptile and bird populations and often do not become pathogenic (cause disease) in healthy animals. However, in captivity, stress, poor hygiene and interactions with animals from new populations (with new diseases) can reduce immunity and allow those diseases to become pathogenic and result in illness or death.  

Some common diseases and conditions observed in captive reptiles in New Zealand are briefly discussed in the links below. Section 8 of the Best Practice Guide to keeping lizards in Captivity provides a more comprehensive analysis of lizard health and care.  Diseases and health issues in captive reptiles and amphibians are usually a result of husbandry practices (e.g. stress, overcrowding, temperature and humidity, light, diet).




Metabolic bone disease (MBD) - appearing as deformities of the skeletal structure.

Fungal diseases - appearing as lesions or discolourations.

Pseudobuphthalmos - extreme bulging of the eye.



Other Conditions:


Weight issues (Malnutrition & Obesity)

Prolapse - projection of internal structures from the vent.

Flystrike *Warning* contains graphic images.

External parasites - Mites and Ticks.

Disecdysis (shedding issues)