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Old 02-08-04, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Most "dumped on" herps.

Sometimes it bothers me to see classified ads selling such amazing beautiful creatures. The reason is that I feel its kinda selfish when people have huge collections of designer snakes, but leave Green Iguanas, and things like R.E.S. in shelters....hmmm it's hard to explain how I feel without it sounding like some sort of insult to those with designer collections. I certaintly do NOT mean it as an insult...

Let's take moniters for example. Some grow as big if not larger than iguanas, the requirments for moniters are much the same, if not far more "complicated" for moniters...yet they are purcahsed at high prices sometimes while iguanas cannot even be given away and are consistantly abused.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this? I just feel if a person truely is into reptiles because they love reptiles they go out of their way to try and house some species that the general public has dumped on. Like my BF and have snake morphs, designer geckos, etc but I *Try* and house just as many commonly dumped on species as I can to match what I have in designer reptiles. Such as iguanas, res, etc. Although even I am a bigger fan of designer morphs, moniters. etc than those "regular" herps.

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Old 02-08-04, 11:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I know what you mean, but we've been down that road long ago doing rescues and stuff. We realised that there will be no end to it. You take in 6 rescue iguanas, 7 beardies and 3 Burms. What are you gonna do when you find another 2 iggies, 3 beardies and 1 burm to be rescued?? There's only so much that can be done. And some just choose not to even start lest it overwhelm them.

There's more than one reason why herpers don't even consider keeping "rescue-type" herps. Some herps were never meant to be in the hobby. Like iguanas for example. Not at ALL a beginner lizard. I'd even go as far as saying that monitors are easier (even with their varied diet).

Another thing you must have noticed in this hobby is that, a good number of people, whether they care to admit or not, keep herps for money. Be it the main reason or a side benefit. Of course, those people don't last very long in the hobby. But imagine them trying to breed normal beardies or leos for profit!

It's just how this hobby grows. Once something is too common, people seek more uncommon stuff. Thus, common stuff get dumped. Soon enough, beardies and leos (normals) will join the ranks of iguanas. I've already seen a fair number of "Free to good home" ads regarding these beautiful herps.

Some people like only lizards, detest snakes. Some love corn morphs but would never keep a normal. It's just preferences. But it's nice to know that there's still people out there who would care for these "non-prefered" herps for what they are.
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Old 02-08-04, 11:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Marisa, I think the requirements of iguanas are more difficult than the more carnivorous monitors. Far easy to thraw a mouse in, than chop up a well balanced salad. Easier to keep frozen mice in the freezer for months than go out each week to purchase the freshest veggies. Also iggies need more space for climbing, while many of the monitors are pretty terrestial.

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Old 02-08-04, 11:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I completely agree Marisa. And to be honest, I have no idea why iguana's are ignored. Yes they were a faze by the general public, same as RES, but in my opinion, iguana's are easier to keep than monitors.

I got offered a free iguana, and I was all for it. However, my mom didn't want it in the house because she's afraid of larger herps.

So I try to open my home as much as possible, but when you have someone you have to ask permission to that isn't very into the herp world and doesn't understand that there are some herps that are thrown into shelters and abandonned because of the "FAZE"'s hard.

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Old 02-08-04, 02:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Iguanas really became mainstream a while back. Long before I ever got into herps I knew people who had iguanas. They were "cool" to own. People told me they were great pets...easy to own, friendly, dont even need to be caged. It's no wonder there are so many in rescues.

I dont think any large snake or large lizard has had that kind of popularity. I think more of the people who buy snakes (especially smaller ones with less "coolness" factor) are serious about the hobby. I mean, who'd pay pay thousands for an albino ball python that only grows to 5 feet when they could get a normal burmese python for less then 100 that grows to 15 feet or more? Someone serious about ball pythons, that's who.

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Old 02-08-04, 02:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think the problem here is comparing apples to oranges.

Who are the people that go out, buy an Iguana, a RES, or a large snake or common pet store herp...then dump it.
It's not going to be someone passionate about herps. It was Joe Public. I love all kinds of reptiles. I won't buy an Iguana. I know I do not have the room or time to deal with that kind of animal. Joe Public sees it, says, "cool!" and buys it. After struggling with it, they dump it.

I am not into morphs really - but I do like to try and breed other species. Something that is a challenge. Something new. Something I KNOW I can find homes for when I have offspring from them.

Herpers shouldn't feel ashamed that they do not take these animals in, that they do not keep these species in their collections, or what have you. The problem does not lie with your average hobbiest - it's the general public.
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Old 02-08-04, 03:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Its all about status for some. "Look what I got!" The sad thing with reptiles is that alot of owners "keep" specimens to look cool. Monitor over Iguana, Burm over BP, well whats "cooler" a pitbull or a poodle. Big & mean helps feed the egos. The whole designer thing is just like clothes etc. Why pay way extra for say Tommy Hillfinger when you could have the same thing in Walmart brand. Yours is way better than mine because you paid 5 times as much for basically the same thing in a different pattern or color? Sure, LOL! The younger generation especially are major victims of "mass media & marketing" & unfortunately the trends created aren't just involving clothing & cars etc., but Herps as well. Just like when we were kids, the first one on the block with the "new toy" got all the status, until all the other kids could afford one then it was no big deal because they were common. Some kids still played with them & enjoyed them while others were out buying the new latest greatest. As in all aspects of life people buy things based on what others will think or what will make them look the most GQ, tough or cool, instead of whats most feesible for them & in these cases the animals. IMHO Mark
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Old 02-08-04, 03:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Great points everyone.

My thoughts are basically this....if you have money to be buying albino ball pythons, rare moniters, designer snakes etc then you could give a little back and take in some more common reptiles that are often in rescues if you love reptiles so much.

But yes another good point is it never ends. Always more crapped on reptiles in rescues no matter how many you try and take in.

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Old 02-08-04, 04:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My partner and I have our own pet rescue organization for exotic pets, and it doesn't ever stop. We had 22 RES in my kitchen last summer that were all rescued and very sick. All but one of those turtles made it and were rehomed in very well screened homes with ongoing contact and support from our org. The uncommon pets we currently have in our home that are unable to be rehomed due to illness etc include a tiger beardie with liver disease, 2 nasty iguanas, an unruly prairie dog, a richardsons ground squirrel with a constant head tilt from an old infection, a ferret with hyperadrenalcorticism, and more. In one of the local ponds nearby we have found map turtles, reeves turtles, snappers, wood turtles, and uncountable numbers of RES. It never stops and is definately heartbreaking (I can't count the number of animals that have been to far gone to save), but someone has to help them, and we are in a position that we can do that. We are able to do a lot of education with the public and do our best to educate pet stores in a way that they hopefully won't take offence and actualy listen to some advice. It would be very nice if we could all take in the odd not so favorable herp, but for some that isn't feesable. If we could all try to educate, it doesn't cost anything, won't take up space in your home, just takes up a little bit of time, we might start getting the message through about some of these animals and why they are't for everybody.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-08-04, 04:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i agree with every one, this kind of stuff has been going on forever and wont stop any time soon. I already have major plans for when i'm out of high school to do almost every thing jungle jen is doing. I plan on having a herp rescue, i want to educate and so on. Thats probably the most you can do, help the animals that need it and try to change how people think.
I'v already taken in many herps that were in adds and places from people who didn't want them, most were in bad shape, most i helped and still have, some didn't make it.
I have alot of mixed feelings about keeping exotics because of what the people do to them that can't care for them. But for the people that love them, exotics are great, i wouldn't be happy without herps. But i'm going to do what i want to do and even though it wont change the world, it'll be making a difference.
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Old 02-08-04, 08:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well, with iguanans and with RES, they start so small and so cute and so cheap. People buy it on impulse and don't realise how big they get and how much it takes to keep these animals. In the US, there's the sulcatta problem - huge torts - but cost only $50 to buy and it's a couple of inches.

I think it's b/c of the vendors trying toliterally to make a few bucks at the expense of these cheap herps and people no doing research and not realising how much space they need when they are full grown and how long they live.

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Old 02-08-04, 09:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Marisa, I see where your heart is coming from, but I don't that anyone should take in any animal they don't feel their all for. I owned an old iggie for a year and a bit and it was hard work, I don't think I will ever own another iguana again. Vanan, Alex (alexandsnakes), and I fished out a RES from a pond (they're not native to BC), we had her for only a bit, until she died of septicemia. I don't think I will ever own another RES again.

Sure, one may be a dog lover or a cat lover, or a bird lover, but that doesn't mean you should take in that neurotic dog, abused cat, or feather plucking lovebird. It may not be within the means of someone, or they may just not have the inclination. And that's fair.
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Old 02-08-04, 09:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm in agreement with Youkai on this subject. It is more the open public. It isn't the people that reserach their animals, purchase them from breeders or brokers. It is people that want something cool out of a storefront, that are uneducated on what they are getting in to. Impulse buyers make up the majority of the "dumpers" out there. Many stores stock these animals - small, cute, and cheap - which at the time appeal to those buyers. The rescue-prone animals are the most commonly available, cheap animals that the public pounces on. For this reason, the store I work at will not stock any of those animals, and are only available via special order. We don't stock anything that is for experienced keepers.
I don't keep a lot of rescue-prone animals, and am not considering keeping any of them in the future. Why? Because these animals do not appeal to me. I don't want to keep something I don't like that much, and it isn't fair to the animal either. It isn't an elitist attitude by any means - I don't like anything aquatic, so it's not a grudge against the commonality of RES... I have an iguana who is 20 years old who I love, but I will never get another because I don't like them... I have some normal leos which are awesome... I even recently aquired a cornsnake!
If someone likes certain types of reptiles, there is no sense in obligation to the rest of the reptiles if they do not like them. If the keeper dreads the work involved with that particular throw-away animal, or whatever, the animal is liekly to receive minimal or even insufficient care. We need to keep what we like for the sake of the animals, unfortunately we cannot protect a lot of these animals from people that do not realise what they are getting themselves in to.

On a sidenote... although irrelevant to the topic, it has been debated some and I would like to put my 2cp in IMHO monitors are more difficult to care for than an iguana. Sure, monitors can live off mice, but they do best with a highly varied diet, which can be just as much work as an ig's diet. I think feeding veggies is much more convenient - I just pick up their food (and share mine) with them when I go grocery shopping for myself. I don't have to go out of my way at all. Also, the fact that most are terrestrial means they take up waaaay more floor space than an iguana (or any other arboreal animal). Not to mention the fact that most require several -feet- of dirt to dig around in. The setup ends up being much more extensive.
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Old 02-08-04, 09:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Oh I definitly don't think everyone should take something in that they don't have a personal interest in....I guess its just odd to me that humans seem to end up dumping certain animals in groups and they are consistantly in shelters and abused, while other animals are highly prized. Not just reptiles, its pit bulls (who are ALWAYS available in shelters, papers, etc and most mistreated) parakeets who can live 20 years are "free to good" home and are normally starved to death on seeds and water diet while other species are not seen so commonly mistreated.....and on and on. Its just too bad I guess.

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Old 02-09-04, 10:00 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Very interesting topic!

I find it so sad to know that there are so many unwanted iguanas out there... They are hard to care for but also can make an interesting herp to have.

I had never ever planned on having an iguana. From what I had heard on their care requirements was enough to deter me from ever getting one. They weren't even a herp that interested me much in terms of looks.

Until I saw an iggy in need of a new home. He had been rescued from a pet shop where he was to be killed off in a freezer. The person who had saved him brought him to the local herp association meeting where he was introduced to us.

I fell in love instantly! He had a funny face because his jaw was deformed to MBD but I loved it, IMO it gives him a more special look I told the person that I was interested in taking him in but would need some time to set up an enclosure for him and take a crash course in iguana care.

A week later "Paco" was in his new home with me. Since that day, I have been a total iguana lover! Me, who wasn't interested whatsoever in the species, am now thinking of setting up another ig habitat as to rescue another ig!

They are hard to care for. They can definitely be a handful, I have plenty of scars to prove it, healed and fresh! But at the same time, I feel there is more reward with an iguana than a snake for example.

I've been working with my Paco for about 5 months now and he has greatly improved. He still can be a little testy at times but that makes me laugh! They are more intelligent than most herps and some days are just too great when another step forward in taming and handling happens.

It's amazing to see more direct results from a lot of hard work with an animal.

I started in the herp hobby with an interest for fancy snakes and things of the such. Now, although I still love them, my passion has moved over to green iguanas.

Keeper of 5 snakes, leopard geckos, 1 green iguana, 20+ tarantulas, 2 dogs & a bunch of rats!
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