The more and more I get into this hobby and fall in love with every aspect of it the more depressing it is in an entirely different way. When I first went to repticon 3 years ago I saw all of these cool morphs and colors and I was kind of like a kid at a toy store.
I watched AnimalBytes tv and hung off of every word Bryan said and I had my favorite snakes and morphs. I would tell all of my non reptile friends about everything on the show and annoy the hell out of them. I would see pictures of snakes together in a cage and I thought they were cute friends. I was making plans for everything I wanted to do and how many snakes I could have and it was great! Then the more I started digging there was this small voice coming from what I assumed were ignorant people.
Then I came to tumblr and started seeing people so passionate for the first time about THE ANIMALS and not money or a snake breeding empire. It turns out that the voice that I was hearing was the voice of reason but I didn’t fully understand or comprehend the gravity of these situations until I was in reptiblr for a while. Reading blogs like @wheremyscalesslither@crispysnakes and other extremely knowledgeable people on here educated me enough to know that I had to relearn everything I thought I knew. I had no idea that there were morphs with neurological or physical health issues like the spider morph. I had no idea that people were so actively supporting something that was so obviously wrong or even by their arguments questionable at best.
I learned the proper way to house and take care of my animals and even though I cannot have as many as I originally intended, I know now that it’s better to have 3 healthy snakes with proper husbandry and enrichment than having 8 that aren’t having a higher quality of life.
I guess I’m saying that there is an extremely sketchy possibly even dark side to the reptile community that is honestly the face that welcomes you into the hobby. I just hope people that are new to the hobby come in with an open mind and do your research. Find people that are knowledgable and people you know you can trust and let them help you. No one is infallible so still make sure to read up and do your homework.
This isn’t a game, you are caring for another life and you have a responsibility not only to keep them happy and healthy but to keep bettering yourself as a reptile keeper. You never know everything and you might even need to reevaluate what you thought was law. That’s what separates the people that care about the animals from the people that care about HAVING the animals.
Please please consider checking our your local reptile rescue and adopting because there are a HUGE number of these species in shelters. These are certainly not the only reptile species in shelters (the one I interned at had everything from leos, cresties, and corns to tegus, rare monitors, and box turtles) but these are usually the most commonly abandoned and the most difficult to house long term.
Benefits of adopting from a shelter:
-adult animals are usually hardier
-a reputable shelter will thoroughly health check animals
-shelter will usually have socialized the animal (and if not will give you an honest idea of current socialization level)
-shelter will be able to give you an idea of animal’s adult temperament (temperament of young animals can often change when they reach sexual maturity)
-shelter will have switched snakes to frozen/thawed before adoption
-some shelter allow fostering of an animal as a trial period
-sometimes the shelter will supply fully equipped enclosure along with the animal
-shelter will offer support and information following the adoption
-the adoption fee is a fairly minimal part of their overall funding, so they are in it for the sake of the animal and adopter not for the money
-adoption fee is usually cheaper than buying a new animal