Joan Beauchamp Procter: her best friend was a Komodo dragon and if that doesn’t entice you to read this, I don’t know what will
Joan Beauchamp Procter is a scientist every reptile enthusiast should admire.
Joan was an incredibly intelligent young woman who was chronically ill (and as a result of her chronic illness, physically disabled by her early thirties). Her health issues kept her from going to college, but that did not stop her from studying and keeping reptiles. She presented her first paper to the Zoological Society of London at the tender age of nineteen, and the society was so impressed that they hired her to help design their aquarium. In 1923, despite having no formal secondary education and despite being only 26 years old, she was hired as the London Zoo’s curator of reptiles. Now, that in and of itself is an awesome accomplishment, but Joan was absolutely not content to maintain the status quo. Nosiree, by the age of 26 Joan had already kept many exotic pets (including a crocodile!) and knew a thing or two about what needed to be done to improve their lives in captivity. So Joan got together with an architect, Edward Guy Dawber, and designed the world’s first building designed solely for the keeping of reptiles. She had some really, really great ideas. Her first big idea was to make the building differentially heated- different areas and enclosures would have different heat zones, instead of having the whole building heated to one warm temperature. She also set up aquarium lighting- the gallery itself was dark, with dim lights on individual enclosures to make things less stressful for the inhabitants. She also insisted on the use of special glass that didn’t filter out UVB. This meant that reptiles could synthesize vitamin D and prevented cases of MBD in her charges.
But advances in enclosure design weren’t Joan’s only contribution to reptile keeping. She was also one of the first herpetologists to study albinism in snakes- she was the first to publish an identification how albinism manifests in reptile eyes differently than in mammal eyes, and stressed the importance of making accurate color plates of reptiles during life because study specimens often lose pigmentation. She also was really hands-on with many species, including crocodiles, large constrictors, and monitor lizards. Joan had this idea that if you socialize an animal and get it used to handling, then when you need to give it a vet checkup, things tend to go a lot better. This really hadn’t been done with reptiles before. She was able to identify many unstudied diseases, thanks to her patient handling of live specimens, and by being patient and going slow, she managed to get a lot of very large, dangerous creatures to trust her. One of them (that we know of) even came to like her- a Komodo dragon named Sumbawa.
In 1928, two of the first Komodo dragons to be imported to Europe arrived at the London Zoo. One of them, named Sumbawa, came in with a nasty mouth infection. His first several months at the zoo were a steady stream of antibiotics and gentle care, and by the time he’d recovered enough for display, he had come to be tolerant of handling and human interaction. In particular, he seemed to be genuinely fond of Joan. She was their primary caretaker and wrote many of the first popular accounts of Komodo dragon behavior in captivity. While recognizing their lethal capacity, she also wrote about how smart they are and how inquisitive they could be. In her account published in The Wonders of Animal Life, she said that "they could no doubt kill one if they wished, or give a terrible bite" but also that they were “as tame as dogs and even seem to show affection.” To demonstrate this, she would take Sumbawa around on a leash and let zoo visitors interact with him. She would also hand-feed Sumbawa- pigeons and chickens were noted to be favorite food, as were eggs.
Joan died in 1931 at the age of 34. By that time she was Doctor Procter, as the University of Chicago had awarded her an honorary doctorate. Until her death, she still remained active with the Zoological Society of London- and she was still in charge of her beloved reptiles. Towards the end of her life, Joan needed a wheelchair. But that didn’t stop her from hanging out with her giant lizard friend. Sumbawa would walk out in front of the wheelchair or beside it, still on leash- she’d steer him by touching his tail. At her death, she was one of the best-known and respected herpetologists in the world, and her innovative techniques helped shape the future of reptile care.
Cartier Paris, Commissioned by María Félix (1914-2002)
Gold, 1 023 brilliant-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds, weighing 60.02 carats in total, two navette-shaped emerald cabochons (eyes), 1 060 emeralds, weighing 66.86 carats in total, two ruby cabochons (eyes).
Each crocodile is fully articulated and may be worn as a brooch. In order to prevent injury to the neck when worn as a necklace, the inner feet have been replaced with motifs that give the effect of tucked-in feet.
Rumor has it that the eccentric Mexican actress entered Cartier’s Rue de la Paix boutique with a small fishbowl containing a pet baby crocodile. She then had the design team create custom interlocking jeweled versions of the creature in the same size.
“They admired my beauty and intelligence, I was only a woman with the heart of a man. A warrior.”
Post galra war, shiro and keith would so foster a bunch of animals. Ranging from cats and dogs to lizards and parrots
Oooo I like this. Just opening up their home to all the animals left behind after the devastation of the war (this is coupled with my assuming Earth didn’t do so well in the ensuing firefight even though the Paladins won but I digress).
They’d decide where to locate their little sanctuary and then just start collecting. Sometimes, Pidge would pop by with some strange pets: snakes and crocodiles and the occasional macaw. Lance would bring a lot of fish, and then, insulted that there was nowhere for said fish, would enlist Hunk’s help to build a fishtank. Hunk brings small kittens and half-starved puppies, always bundled up and warm.
The first night, Shiro finds Keith all snuggled up on the floor surrounded by kittens. They’re all various degrees of asleep and Keith is absolutely covered in tiny scratches and teeth marks and an alarming amount of shedding fur. Shiro enjoys his time with the dogs and the horses; the dogs are always overjoyed to see him and the horses are always calmest when Shiro is nearby. They both take care of the fish because Lance would lynch them both if even a single goldfish died.
It ends up a larger production than they were planning, but eventually they manage to adopt the animals out. They receive a reputation that if you want an animal well cared for and well received, send it to the Castle of Lions Sanctuary.
An Australian woman divorced her husband after he asked her to get rid of her pet crocodile; the lady has been raising the crocodile since 1996, even letting it sleep beside her son in the same bed. -Source