In 2007 in one of our first public appearances, we attended the Eco-Fair as representatives of both WFRR and the Horned Lizard Conservation Society. We answered many questions about the habits and conservation of Horned Lizards, and of their food sources and habitats in our area.
Wichita Falls and Texas Organizations
Turtles and Tortoises
State backs off on euthanasia for reptile pets...
Six critically endangered Blue Iguanas killed in Grand Caymans
( These endangered animals were starting to make a comeback in recent years. The eldest among them, the matriarch of the group who was also killed, was 23 years old. The Igs which were killed or injured, represent 1/3 of the adult breeding population of the species. Grand Cayman is the only place in the world where these animals exist. Two of the females were gravid, and preparing to lay their eggs before being killed. What makes this more disheartening, is that these Iguanas were used to human visitors and caretakers, and trusted people. We hope the persons responsible are found, and regardless of their age, they receive the maximum possible imprisonment under Grand Cayman law. )
Update: We have gotten word that one of the seriously injured has also passed away, raising the total to 7....
More information from Melissa Kaplan's blog
Cocker Spaniel and Macaw parrot stranded on S. Pacific island when owner's sailboat shipwrecked after 3 months adrift at sea.
Some Petco stores to stop selling live animals?
We have gotten word lately that Petco stores nationwide are currently being evaluated until the end of the year, and many stores will soon not be selling live animals anymore (other than fish). This is great news as far as we are concerned. Apparently, in a bit of corporate propaganda spin, meant to spin the heads of stockholders no doubt, Petco is calling it "Right sizing" instead of "down-sizing". Matters not to us what they call it. They seem to be starting to realize that killing animals in the store cuts into too much of their profit margin, and the animals they ARE selling aren't making up the difference. In many cases sick or dead animals are returned for refunds as well. Many times the death of the animal is the fault of the ignorant buyer who wanted a pet on the cheap and didn't spring for basic equipment, or as is often the case, the animal was bought to be an experiment in responsibility for a child. But, far too often is the case that I can walk into that store and find a dead, dying, or sick animal that isn't being noticed by employees ( but that I can spot in seconds because I am paying attention ), or isn't getting the medical care it needs. It is my impression that the company tries to avoid shelling out for vet care to treat dying animals, seeing it only as loss of profit for an animal that might not make it to be sold eventually.
Many of the employees at that store are resistant to taking simple basic steps they could take to help these animals. Just the other day I spotted that the Ball Pythons had mites crawling all over them. The female employee in charge of that section that night was not even interested in my simple suggestion that the snakes could be helped and comforted tremendously until they went to see a vet, if they would just rinse them under running tap water, and give them a dish of water to soak in. I have found this particular employee, a fish specialist, to be quite dismissive and rude when I have pointed out the animals they are killing in the past. If I continue to get the same response, I won't have any objection to publishing her name so that others know who in Petco does not put "animals first". Most Petco employees won't wipe their behinds unless corporate tells them when, and how. These animals supposedly had their habitat cleaned out on Sun., and the employee doing clean outs did not notice. These adult mites do not just appear in 3 days time. They were there on Sun., and someone wasn't paying attention. I wasn't evening handling these snakes, I was just walking by, and I saw this. Why can't they?!!
If you really care about getting a quality reptile pet, that has been taken care of by someone who cares about what they sell, then personally seek out a breeder and talk to others who take pride in their animals. Or better yet, seek out a shelter or rescue group and take in an unwanted reptile that needs a home. You aren't going to get a healthy and quality animal from somewhere like Petco, where chances are you are waited on by a minimum wage moron, who knows nothing about the animal, and could care less about anything except what he or she is doing after work. Big chain stores like Petco and Petsmart, are where breeders dump their rejects and subpar animals with genetics they don't want to keep. They keep the good stuff to breed themselves, or sell at shows, or on their own websites where they can bring more money for them. They don't give the good stuff to Petco and Petsmart.
It appears that we have won a small victory for the conditions Bearded Dragons were being kept in at the local Petco. For almost a year now, we have been telling management and employees responsible for the reptiles, that these Bearded Dragons were being kept at improperly low habitat temps ( 84-86F ), insufficient UVB exposure, and that the prey size was improperly large. Both medium/large crickets and mealworms were being offered to these babies, when proper size should be no more than 1/2 to 2/3 the length and width of the head of the animal. Excessive mealworms and large crickets are responsible for gastrointestinal impaction and enteritis in babies, and this can result in death. Many of these small baby Beardies were not eating at all; but, starving to death right in the cages because their food was too large to eat. Nobody at the store who had the authority to do anything about this ever would...even after being informed numerous times by this rescue. Their corporate red tape makes them unwieldy and incapable of caring for the animals they sell properly. The policies either bind the hands of any employee who cares, with the threat of termination for going against policy; or, they result in many employees just not caring anymore at all. Three times this past summer, I walked in to the store to find a dead Bearded Dragon lying emaciated in the tank for all the world to see. Yet, these animals are supposed to be checked on by "specialists" every hour. Add to this the inadequate habitat temps, which don't allow for a properly working digestive and immune system response in the temperature dependent reptile, and the lack of proper UVB, and you have a situation where many of these poor dragons are dying before they are even sold, or they are so sick that it is obvious they need to see a vet.
It would seem obvious that any business that is trying not to lose money by killing "merchandise", might see the advantage in just concentrating on the simple steps that would prevent this, and save the company much lost revenue to vet fees. For the moment, it seems that a policy change has come down which requires any Beardie that is not appearing to be doing well, be pulled to the back and given time under the better clamp basking light and UVB light, and that smaller offered prey size be observed. Of course, it would be better if Petco just put in the proper basking and UVB lights in the floor habitats to prevent this to begin with...and learned how to order a better variety of the smaller cricket sizes that smaller and younger reptiles require. There is no excuse why they can't do this, as there are plenty of suppliers selling pinhead size crickets online. They sell too many reptiles up there ( such as baby geckos, anoles, and dragons )which require a size of cricket that they don't even have available!
The next issue to address with them is this constant use of the shellfish derived "Calci-sand" substrate, which is a strict "No-No" to anyone with a clue about properly caring for baby Bearded Dragons and other lizards. They sell it, and for that reason it is pushed heavily, even though it is responsible for many fatal cases of impaction in reptiles every year.
For more information, see: www.Beardeddragon.org