To determine the association between reptile ownership and salmonellosis caused by certain rare serotypes of Salmonella, we reviewed 1993 New York State Salmonella case reports and conducted a matched case-control study. Cases were persons identified from 1993 New York State laboratory records who had salmonellosis caused by Salmonella serotypes commonly isolated from reptiles. Controls were selected from 1993 New York State shigellosis cases and matched for age and date of diagnosis. Of 674 Salmonella case reports 27 (4%) noted reptile exposure before onset of illness. For the case-control study we identified 42 persons with selected Salmonella serotypes, of whom we contacted 24 (57%). Twelve of 24 case patients and 2 of 28 controls owned reptiles (matched odds ratio, 6.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 31.0). Ten case-patients but no controls owned iguanas (MOR = undefined; 95% confidence interval, 2.24-infinity). Ten of 12 case patients who owned reptiles were < or = 6 months of age. Salmonellosis caused by certain serotypes is associated with reptile exposure. Reptiles may be unfit pets for homes with infants.