This is a post I originally posted on Reptile Haven and thought it should be posted on other Reptile information sites as well so here it is.....
OK folks, I'm going to rant a little here........so if it gets long please bear with me and I do apologize but I feel it needs to be addressed
Many of us here at Reptile Haven rescue herps in addition to keeping our own collections. I, myself, just this month finally got established and ready to accept rescues. We do this to help any and all reptiles, as well as any other animals we can. We do it out of the goodness of our hearts and our love of the hobby. We do not want to see any reptile put to sleep due to the shelters and animal control agencies inability to care for exotic animals. In my area, dogs and cats are kept in the shelters longer than a many reptiles, especially the larger ones like Burmese Pythons and Iguanas. If a home isn't found within 7 days, they are put down. We have a little network set up to find good homes for many of the rescues we bring in. Many of which end up being adopted to people we know personally due to our knowing they have the experience to give the animal a good home. I just adopted 4 boas in the last week. The people I adopted them from know that I have the experience and knowledge to give them a good home for as long as they are alive.
Now onto my rant.......
I am seeing time and time again people, mainly children of 12 to 16 years old as well as other older individuals, posting on various sites that they are a rescue and will accept any reptile regardless of size and species. My problem with these "rescues" is that the people who post saying they are a rescue, are not a rescue and are not out to help the animal in question. As another member of Reptile Haven stated they are not rescues, they should just post "please give me free animals". You have to wonder where a person of this age is going to get the monies needed for a routine visit to the veterinarian that every rescue needs whether they are outwardly sickly of not. I know it cost me anywhere from $40 to $150 a visit depending on what test I have done, and can run as high as $400 for a single visit. And how many of the parents of these children are going to want to drive the animal to the vet? And pay for the final bill? Come to think of it, how many are actually going to allow a 13-year-old child to rescue a 10' Burmese Python?
Now let's get into the required supplies for a "rescue". Like cages with the proper heating, lighting, UV, etc. I know I had to wait until I was able to accumulate enough specialized bulbs and CHEs for all of the cages, before I would even consider accepting rescues. These items are expensive to say the least. And it's not like many people can afford to out and buy 15 CHEs and 10 special UV bulbs all at once. What about food?? In order to feed all of the different animals that come into rescues, you must have many different varieties of foods on hand or available at a moments notice. For snakes you need rodents, preferably frozen ones. For most small lizards, you need crickets. And iguanas, monitors, and other reptile eat a totally different variety in their diets. I can go on and on about the specialized caging and other supplies needed for each species.
Just because someone has a few extra empty cages, doesn't mean they are a rescue. It means they have a few empty cages. It takes a lot more than a few empty cages to rescue any animal, let alone reptiles. There is a difference between adoption and rescue. Rescue means most of the animals you get are in great need of rehab and/or medical care, and if someone claims to be into rescue, they had better have experience in rehab skills and access to vet care and a lot of cash flow.
I guess I have been ranting here and trying to avoid just stating the obvious. The only thing these individuals want is a free animal! There, I said it! My advice to these people is to buy your animals and stop looking for freebies. The only thing you are doing is depriving a reptile of a good home where they can get the care and attention that they require to thrive and live a long healthy life. I have 5 sons and I wouldn't even consider letting any of them owning an animal. I own all of the animals. I let them help to care for them and they learn about whatever is here at any given time, but I have found most children of early teenage years to not be able or ready to care for the types of rescues that come in. I dread seeing one of these rescues getting a Burmese Python in with a RI or an Iguana with MBD. These illnesses can rack up a hefty vet bill in a very short time and I don't see these "rescues' taking the time or investing the money into the reptile. I see them letting the animal suffer until it dies. And it really saddens me to say that, but it seems to be the truth of the matter. A few members can attest to rescuing animals from someone who stated they were a rescue, and had to take to animals from them and rehab them back to health, losing a few along the way, because the person who had them didn't have a clue as to how to rehab a sick animals and didn't have the monies needed for vet care.
Please, to all of those individuals who say they are a rescue really just want a free animal, fill out an application at a legitimate rescue's site and pay the adoption fee. All you are doing is causing more pain and suffering on animals that could have been place in proper rescues and get the care they need to regain their health. There is nothing wrong with holding out for a free pet or at least a nominal adoption fee, as long as you pass the application screening that all rescues have for potential adopters.
To all those who are looking for rescues to take their animals, sick or healthy, please do a little research into any rescue. There are many of these popup rescues that just want free animals and do not have the ability or experience needed for many of the animals that end up in rescues. Many of the reptile information sites on the Internet have pages that list rescues from all over the United States, Canada, and a few other countries, so finding one that is close to you shouldn't be too hard.