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Amphibian Guidelines

(Frogs, Salamanders, etc.)

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Amphibians are known to carry salmonella. When amphibians are used and handled on a set, antibacterial gel and/or facilities for washing hands with soap and warm water shall be made available and their use encouraged among cast and crew. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list children, the elderly and people with impaired immune systems as particularly at risk of infection. 

8-273 American Humane’s Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media apply to anyone bringing an animal to the set, including members of the cast or crew. 

a. For safety and efficiency, American Humane recommends that producers hire animal handlers experienced in motion picture production to supply all amphibians for production. However, if production chooses to have private owners — including cast and crew — provide amphibians, all requirements of the Guidelines must be implemented. 

b. When applicable, producers shall distribute in advance the instruction sheet on “Special Requirements for Extras/Others Who Supply Animals.” 

8-273.1 An animal handler with knowledge of the specific amphibian species being utilized shall be used. 

8-274 Amphibians shall be provided with adequate housing for their species. (See the Housing and General Care section in Chapter 1.) As with fish, water quality is important to the health of amphibians. The use of chlorine/chloramine removers (sold in aquarium shops) to dechlorinate the water and remove other contaminants shall be used. 

8-275 Sand or wood shavings are not recommended for most species because they are often eaten by the animals and can cause digestive impaction. 

8-276 Neither carbon dioxide gas nor dry ice may be used around amphibians. Should a production or animal handler need to slow down the movements of an amphibian, temporary containment in a box or other darkened condition shall be allowed. A 10- to 20-degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature is natural and is the maximum that an amphibian shall be required to endure. When cooling methods are used, American Humane must grant prior approval, and production or the animal handler must indicate the method to be employed to gradually cool and warm the animal. 

8-277 Most salamanders are not suitable for handling. Should a salamander need to be handled, a mesh fish net shall be used. 

8-278 As with fish, the oils, salts and heat in human skin can be toxic to amphibians. Salamanders and other amphibians generally have extremely sensitive, permeable skin. Many salamanders and other amphibians excrete toxic fluid from their skin that can harm humans. 

8-279 Before and after handling an amphibian, individuals must wash their hands with warm water and mild soap. The amphibian must be gently scooped up, taking care to provide full support with one hand and using the second hand to ensure the animal does not fall or otherwise escape. Never hold an amphibian with two fingers. When in doubt, check with the animal handler or coordinator. 

8-279.1…Care must be taken to ensure that animals do not escape the set or location. Production and the animal handler must also have a safety plan in place that will prevent the escape of animals from the set or location and provide for their safe recapture, should an accident or escape occur. (Also see Guideline 1-36.)

* Notes a federal, state or local animal welfare statue, code or permit consideration.