How to Care For Cuts and Abrasions in Reptiles

a lizard with a worm in front of it

Does your reptilian companion have a cut or scrape that must be attended to? The good news is that reptiles can heal themselves incredibly well, even after severe wounds obtained in the wild from predators. The fastest way for certain types of lizards to heal a superficial wound is to shed its layer of skin. The deeper the wound, the more layers of skin must be shed and the longer it will take for the wound to heal.

Small wounds in reptiles will heal well on their own. However, if you think your pet is at risk of infection or is a weak or old individual, you can help them along with:

  • Fauna Care spray
  • Ointments and creams
  • Household items

In general, wound healing in reptiles may take longer than in mammals or birds, due to a lower metabolism. It is best to keep your injured pet in a sterile and clean environment. Put them in a hospital tank or quarantine, making sure it is the right size and the temperature and thermoregulation needs of the animal are satisfied. Put paper towels down and replace as soon as there is waste so no bacteria is bred in the environment. If your pet has deep cuts or you suspect a broken bone, take them to veterinarian.

Covering the wound with a topical treatment will disinfect the wound and cover it in order to keep out dirt and germs. It keeps the wound moist to allow for faster healing. We’ve listed some commonly used products, and told you when Fauna Care’s formulas top these ones!

lizard in tree



Veterinary Betadine (povidone-iodine) is commonly used to prepare the skin and mucous membranes before surgery. It can be used to irrigate wounds, prevents bacterial infection, and acts as an emergency antiseptic for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. Read how this snake owner used a diluted solution of betadine to care for scale rot. The solution reduces the bacteria that can potentially cause skin infection.

Silver sulfadiazine

Is a used to treat burns, bacterial and fungal skin infections. It kills bacteria, including some yeasts. It also keeps moisture in the wound, which is great for reptiles who heal faster when moisture stays in. The cream can be applied easily with a cotton swab. Don’t worry about dressing the wound unless the cream is in a spot where it could be rubbed off. Read about how our Silver formula is more effective!

bright green lizard on rock


A properly diluted solution of chlorhexidine is necessary because higher concentrations of the solution can cause damage to human and reptile skin. It is available in two forms: a spray form, or chlorhexidine diacetate sold as Nolvasan (.05%), and chlorhexidine gluconate (4%) a topical treatment. In mammals, chlorhexidine has been found to be more effective than betadine. 


This ointment will kill germs and keep moisture in. Neosporin is a triple antibiotic cream; any triple biotic ointment you use should not have painkillers in it, as this can be deadly to reptiles and amphibians.

lizard in sand

Household Products

  • Honey is good to use in a pinch. It keeps the wound moist and covered. However, honey can be high in sugar so it may not be the best if it attracts flies or ants to the wound. It has not been proven that honey can kill germs or bacteria.
  • Petroleum jelly can protect the wound but has no germ-killing properties
  • Listerine will kill germs, but keep in mind this product may burn on open skin and that ethanols and other alcohols can dry out the skin.

Hopefully your reptiles wounds are minor enough to heal on its on, and you won’t need to use on products on them. The above products are all commonly used, but out of all of these products, the easiest to use to protect your animal from infection is Fauna Care’s line of sprays. Read about each of them here!

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