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Reptile & Amphibian Center

Amebiasis in Reptiles

Infection with Entamoeba


Amebiasis is one of the most serious diseases in reptiles. Due to an infection with the protozoan microorganism Entamoeba invadens, amebiasis, if not treated in time, this disease can even be fatal in some reptiles.


Meat-eating reptiles are more prone to amebiasis than plant-eating reptiles. Among these, carnivorous snakes, including vipers, rattlesnakes, bushmasters, boas, garter snakes, water snakes, colubrids and elapids, are more susceptible to the disease than their turtle or lizard counterparts. However, there are some reptiles -- garter snakes, northern black racers, eastern king snakes, cobras and most turtles -- that only become carriers of the disease and are not affected by it. Such resistant groups can then spread the protozoa through direct contact or infected droppings; this is especially a problem in snake colonies.


Symptoms and Types


  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea resembling mucus or containing blood




  • Infection with protozoa Entamoeba invadens
  • Direct contact with infected animals
  • Contact with droppings of infected animals




The veterinarian will test the reptile droppings for the presence of the protozoa Entamoeba invadens.