I'd like to know the generic answer for reptiles, but I'm particularly concerned about tortoises.

Mine is largely an indoor tortoise, and the mosquitoes are already pretty much gone from our area, but I was curious about it. The occasional bug does get into the house, and since I can't always pick up waste right away, they do find their way to the tortoise's enclosure.

Do mosquitoes actually bite reptiles? I know that their skin is much tougher than a human's, and I would suspect that they wouldn't have the same immunological response to the bite that we would, but I don't know for sure.

If they do bite reptiles, is there any danger of communicating something like West Nile or EEE (Eastern equine encephalitis)? I know these diseases can affect mammalian pets but I don't have any further information on reptiles.

2 Answers 2


Mosquitos sure do bite reptiles, but generally, they do prefer to go after mammals. Mosquitos will probably opt for you and leave your tortoise or reptile . Also, mosquitos can transfer disease to tortoises, in fact, this has gotten researchers worried about the risks mosquitos have on rare tortoises.

Galapagos Islands researchers are increasingly worried about this phenomenon due to a rise in mosquito populations: a mosquito who bites a tourist with an infectious disease could transfer it to the local reptile population source.

See also A New Threat to the Galapagos Tortoise: Mosquito Bites

Since your tortoise is an indoor tortoise, it's less susceptible to mosquito bites. The only thing I know of that can attract mosquitos to your tortoise would be the still water from the water dish, especially if the water isn't changed frequently. Obviously, the only solution or partial solution to this is frequent water changes.

Many reptiles will gladly make a meal out of mosquitos, so even though mosquitos can bite them,the reptile will probably eat them as they arrive.

The West Nile or EEE can be transferred to reptiles, though not as commonly as mammals. Here is a detailed pdf about the EEE including the species affected by the disease.

You don't really have much to worry about for your tortoise when it comes to mosquitos, and as shelled animals, there really is less skin for a mosquito to bite on; mosquitos would rather target you. Some other reptiles would eat the mosquitos. The only real risk here is the one in the Galapagos, since the species is endangered. You can expect some solutions for mosquito problems with outdoor tortoises when effort is put into protecting the endangered reptiles of the Galapagos.

Here are some forums and sitesfor supplementary reading:

  1. Mosquitoes on TortoiseForum.
  2. Do Mosquitos Bite Torts?
  3. How Harmful are Mosquitos to tortoises?

Often drawn to warm-blooded animals such as mammals and birds, mosquitoes are opportunistic bloodsuckers and won't turn down a cold-blooded drink when it's convenient.

From do mosquitoes drink blood from reptiles?

Only female mosquitoes drink blood. They use its iron and protein to nourish their eggs before laying them; blood is essential in a mosquito's reproductive process, but not as food for adults. Although some species prefer certain types of animals, such as livestock, many search for the first available creature. A female mosquito's mouthparts, or proboscis, saws through even the tough skin of reptiles and slides between snake scales.

According to the FDA, nearly all reptiles and amphibians, including tortoises, are contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Baby turtles and tortoises are especially prone to carrying the bacteria.

From can I get sick from a tortoise?

Salmonella can live on tortoises' skin and shells as well as in their digestive systems. Handling a tortoise can transmit Salmonella; you can inadvertently spread the bacteria to yourself, other people and any surface you touch afterward before washing your hands. You can pick up an infection from your tortoise's habitat, as Salmonella can live on hard surfaces for several days. The FDA and CDC advise that pregnant women, children under 5 years old, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk of contracting Salmonella and are strongly advised not to handle tortoises.

Do mosquitoes carry the Salmonella to humans? I am not so sure.


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