There are herp people out there that care.
I rarely sit down and write on here, as this blog is more of a photo portfolio and personal “field guide” of the wild reptiles and amphibians (as well as other native flora and fauna) that I encounter during my outdoor excursions. However, I felt that a recent conversation with a wonderful and caring herp keeper warranted some text.
As I work as the Animal Care and Operation Director of a herp-centric, educational organization, I often receive contacts from people who wish to re-home their captive herps. These contacts range from families who wish for their pet to be interacted with more (kids are all grown up and off to college and Bandy the California Kingsnake can’t tag along) to people regretting their purchase of a neonate Green Anaconda (now at adult size with a nasty temperament to match). I am here to help and in NO WAY chastising these people.
A person called me in regards to a Sulcata Tortoise (Geochelone [Centrochelys] sulcata) that they could no longer house. They had raised this mega-fauna species from a neonate (golfball size) to a now nearly full grown, 100 pound, wheel barrel sized animal. Things in life change and sometimes things that one once thought as permanent may not be. That is fine- it is life.
Instead of looking for an easy drop-off of their tortoise, they researched long and hard for a forever home for their friend. Nothing but the best would do. Not a pet shop looking for a quick buck. Not a backyard hobbyist with a less than optimal pen. They wanted a place where the tortoise could roam over some acreage with “not too many steep hills and fields of grass and dandelions to graze upon”.
This was amazing to hear. I have been immersed in the world of herpetology and herpetoculture (albeit, I am more field herper than a keeper) all my life and rarely do I meet people with such love and respect for their animal. Although I couldn’t adopt the tortoise, I offered the best suggestions I had towards leads to such a place. I congratulated the keeper for not only being able to raise such an animal from neonate to adulthood, but also thanked them for being so caring.
I cut this little blurb short for the sake of time and space, but I hope anyone reading this gets the idea.
Reptile and amphibians are not like dogs or cats. They are not vocal about their feelings or needs. Physically, it may take a very long time for them to show distress, malnutrition, and fatigue. It is up to the herp keeper to know the signs and offer the best care. Do your homework before adding that Aldabra Tortoise to your chelonian collection. Take a step back and visualize what it would be like to own a Gaboon Viper. That 14 inch baby Retic? Think about it 5 years from now.
Thanks for reading,