Reptile pets bring new allergy risk

THE growing popularity of reptiles as pets is spawning a new source of allergens in the home — the grasshoppers used to feed them.

Allergy researchers warn that parents may buy snakes or bearded dragons for children in a bid to avoid allergies from furry pets such as cats and dogs, but to no avail.

While the reptiles themselves may pose a risk of Salmonella and other infection, their diet, such as grasshoppers, locusts and crickets, has been associated with sensitisation and disease including asthma.

They cite the case of an eight-year-old