Lab Anim Res.  2011 Sep;27(3):213-217. 10.5625/lar.2011.27.3.213.

Identification of bacteria from the oral cavity and cloaca of snakes imported from Vietnam

  • 1Institute for the 3Rs, College of Veterinary Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Reptile Medicine, Snoopy Animal Hospital, Gunpo, Korea.
  • 3Toxicology Center, Korea Institute of Toxicology, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 4College of Veterinary Medicine & Korea Zoonosis Research Institute, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Korea.


Reptiles are used for various purpose
s these days, including public exhibits, medicinal applications, and as laboratory animals. As the international exchange of reptiles has gradually increased, more people have had the opportunity to come in contact with these animals. Snakes typically live in the rhizosphere where various bacterial strains exist and as such they can lead to opportunistic human diseases. When snakes are encountered in veterinary medicine, it is necessary to monitor their microflora. Native microflora of reptiles imported from other countries has not yet been reported in Korea. In this study, oral and cloacae samples were collected from 18 Burmese pythons transported from Vietnam. The specimens were incubated at 37degrees C for 18 h to produce colony growth under aerobic condition and isolated colonies were then identified using a VITEK automated identification system. There were fourteen types of aerobic bacteria isolated from both oral and cloacae samples, nine from only oral specimens, and fifteen from only cloacae specimens. Most bacteria isolated were opportunistic pathogens of humans which therefore have the potential to induce disease in people. Based on the microflora and the prevalence of bacterial strains in snakes, quarantine procedures for reptiles transported internationally should be strengthened. Characterization of the microflora of reptiles with the potential to induce zoonosis should be performed in those used as laboratory animals and to prevent zoonotic outbreaks in the general population as well as among veterinarians.


Reptile quarantine; aerobic bacteria; opportunistic infection; Burmese python; Vietnam
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