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Old 05-28-03, 05:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So you want to be a Reptile Rescue??

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.
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Old 05-28-03, 09:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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*applause*....that's a great post, you made some excellent points....

I think many people get way ahead of themselves when they get the idea in their heads to 'start a rescue'....and while their heart is somewhat in the right place, their head isn't.

It certainly takes a lot of hard work, dedication and money to start and keep a rescue running, and it's great that you brought some of these important aspects to light
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Old 05-28-03, 09:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well said.

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Old 05-28-03, 10:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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VERY well said!! I don't even publicize my rescue much and take in very few animals and it's still a huge challenge. Imagine all the youngsters thinking they can take in a half-dozen or so animals that need extensive rehab or even just longterm housing.
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Old 05-28-03, 11:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good to see someone looking at it from the reptile's perscpective for once. I think we've all seen it before too, and the worst part is, it's the animals that suffer the most. Very well spoken, brilliant.
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Old 05-29-03, 09:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wonderful post. I help out aquatic turtles only. They keep me very busy, financially, too. Many kids have wanted my turtles but have changed their minds at the idea of an "adoption fee" , often without even asking how much it was. This is a very expensive year for me with the flooding down here pretty much ruining my ponds. Now I have to rebuild them so this goes to show that you never know what you are in for.
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Old 05-29-03, 09:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Excellent post :thumbsup:

Keeping a healthy pet or pets can be costly on it's own, I can just imagine how much more it can be to rehabilitate rescued animals.

Congrats for your work and I hope this message gets through to some.

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Old 05-29-03, 11:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Darlene
Many kids have wanted my turtles but have changed their minds at the idea of an "adoption fee" , often without even asking how much it was.
Isn't that marvelous, actually? It's a very useful screening tool to weed out folks too cheap to provide the proper habitat and vet care when necessary.
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Old 05-29-03, 11:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Herpkingdom, I agree with you entirely; However, I must state that I have founded and run a reptile rescue myself.

I started Samba's Reptile Rescue in 1997 and I must say I did it for the animals. Not free ones, but because I felt sorry for the creatures being sold in pet shops to people who have no idea what they are getting into. It actually began as an accident because I was the 'lizard lady' and when people didn't want their reptiles anymore they gave them to me. In time, however, I have realized just what being a non profit org. requires and it is not easy by far.

Most of the animals I do receive are ill, or have some sort of problems. Rarely do I receive a perfect little animal that just needs a home. There are reasons people get 'rid' of their pets. And, to top it off, most have been sick for quite some time. Lots of them don't make it, without regards to the $$$$$$ I spend on them. I am lucky in this sense, because I work very closely with a herp vet who often gives me vast discounts for the quantity of sick animals I bring in. Anyone who thinks a 'rescue' is a good idea to get free animals cannot have a clue about the expense, both financially and emotionally, they will go through. Then you have the fact that many animals are EXTREMELY difficult to place. Too large, aggressive, ill, whatever. Some of the animals I've chosen to keep have become educational animals and 'earn their keep' so to speak. I have long thought what you have written, and with gusto I might add! Thank you for your candid and frank essay! I'd add more here, but I'm on my way to school!

P.S. I am 23 yrs. old... so by school I mean college, where I want to get my Ph.D. in Biotechnology!
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Old 05-29-03, 12:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Good thread. I can say I have rescued herps but I do not consider myself a reptile rescue. If I feel I can handle a herp for it's entire life (i don't even think about placing them because I might never be able to) then I will take it in. So far this has been small (3 leopard geckos) and I intend to keep it that way. Rescue is in no way a means of free reptiles. Even if you don't pay a dime for the animal it is never free. All of the herps I have taken in were given to me with the enclosures and all of the enclosures had problems. I have pretty much completely overhauled each one. Yes they were malnourished and I had to nurse them back to health but I consider them my pets now. I rescued them not because they were free but because I wanted to help them. There are lots of ways to "rescue" herps without setting up a non-profit org and get in over your head. One is to volunteer at an already established shelter or nature center to help get people educated. Another is to get a job at a pet shop that needs work and ensure the herps get the proper care they need. Donate money to and organization. They can always use it for feeders, housing, etc. The more money they have to work with the more herps can be rescued and every little bit helps. One thing I have done, with Aurora who was my teeniest rescue...she was owned by a friend's sister and she didn't have money for feeders or she wouldn't go buy them. Either way she wasn't feeding them so I donated some mealworms to her so she had no excuses. It helped for a while but I ended up having to adopt Aurora 6 months later as she was still no bigger than a hatchling.

This girl had three Leos and gave them all to me because she finally admitted she couldn't handle them or wasn't interested. I think the point I am trying to get accross here is whether it's taking in rescues or adding to your own collection (often a fine line) be really honest with yourself as to what you can handle. It does no good for the herps if you have too many and can't give each of them the special attention they deserve.
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Old 05-30-03, 12:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have been watching this thread closely and cannot believe the lack of response. I expected the numerous types "rescues" mentioned, would be posting and trying to explain themselves. But alas, the truth prevails it looks like. I mean how can they justify calling themselves a rescue, right?

I know this topic touches many members of this site as well as many other sites. What I am wondering is why only a few have voiced their opinions? Everyone in thsi hobby of ours has an opinion on everything the effects the hobby and the animals we care for so much. THe lack of response from the hobbyists will, in my opinion, just show these so called "rescues" that people care that they are just basically asking for free animals with no experience or resources that will be needed for a true rescue.

So if you have an opinion, post it. That is what this forum is for. THis is not a topic to be taken lightly. What happened when one of these resues is near you and they get in several sickly animals that thye have no idea what to do with? Are you just going to sit by and wathc them die off? NO! You are going to go and either take the animals or help in any way you can. If we inform the people doing this that it is something we will not accept, then the animals in need of a true rescue will be placed where they can get the rehab they need instead of with someone looking for a free pet where it will most likely die from whatever ailment it had before it was so called rescued.

This is just my $2's worth.

I say $2's and not 0.02 worth as this situation affects me directly.
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Old 05-30-03, 12:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Don't get upset if someone doesn't reply to a thread that is important to you. You made your point. Probably the people you were hoping to hear from don't want to get themselves involved in a big argument or flame war. You said what you wanted to say and that's all you can do. :/
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Old 05-30-03, 01:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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How quickly you assume that I am upset.

I'm not upset, just concerned. I don't want a big flame war either. I was hoping to see some more opinions posted to a thread that someone obviously put a lot of thought into.

I see more replies to posts like "HELP! My snake got bit by its food!", then this one that is just as important to the hobby as a whole.

And I cannot believe anyone is afriad of if they post it will cause a flame. I do not believe this thread was meant to start a flame, it was started to have people post their opinions about a topic that effects this hobby.

But I am starting to rant again.....

So the way I see it is, the more people that post their opinions, the more these "rescues" can see that what they are doing is wrong and only harming the reptiles they want for free.
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Old 05-30-03, 01:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I liked your post.

I didnt reply because it was a stand alone post IMHO. You expressed views that are true, good common sense, and important to those thinking of doing this.

I think the reason you have a lack of response of is because on this particular site there are mostly responsible people who agree with you, and already only house what they are able to, or only keep private "collections" not rescues. That's a good thing.

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Old 05-30-03, 01:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Sorry I didn't mean to assume anything but based on what you wrote it seems that way. All I meant was you said what you had to say and that's it. I agree with Marisa completely. You pretty much said it all. There isn't much room for arguement and she is right, most people here would agree with you. The people who don't probably don't want to get flamed so they chose not to post. Not much you can do, it's a forum...
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