The below is a post
by Paul Huang on rec.pets.herp
in which he discusses the bashing of persons who give away their pets.
It's really interesting and worth the time to read. Thanks Paul.
many of you read the subject line and said to yourself, "oh no, not
again"? By the way, this is quite long so don't read on unless
you want to spend a few minutes.
Well, I have no animals that I am offering for adoption; no mean 5' iguanas
with MBD, no 15' burms with a voracious appetite, no 6' alligator that
my parents won't let me keep loose in my room anymore, etc. In fact,
I rescue a lot of large snakes in the area. But what disturbs me
more in a way though, is the horrible responses many of us have when someone
posts something along these lines.
I can understand where many of you are coming from. I mean, we are
responsible herpers and hate to see people who are irresponsible and just
want to dump their now unwanted animals off on some schmoe who cares.
And, we also hate to have to help rescue or adopt these numerous unwanted
animals and pay out of our own straining funds to feed and care for them
properly (foot, electricity, vet bills, etc.). But I ask you, "WHAT
GOOD IS IT TO SIT HERE AND BITCH ABOUT IT AND RIP THESE PEOPLE?"
Does it really get us anywhere? The simple answer is "no".
The more complicated answer is "no" and that it pushes people
who might have an interest in herps (but got off on the wrong foot) away
from the hobby and makes them think that we are a bunch of f*cks which
I will say we can be a lot of times (I'm definitely including myself in
Here's what I am getting at. Most people who buy any herp or any
animal buy the animal because it interests them and their intentions are
good. They mean to care for these animals as well as they can. Now
don't get me wrong, there are exceptions but that doesn't speak for the
whole. Remember, we as herpers are in this situation as well. Our
public image is mostly of people getting killed by their pet pythons,
people who carry pet rattlesnakes around their necks or that weird person
who has all his house lights on a timer, etc. We want to let the
public know that it is not the whole, right? And that we're not
bad... for the most part :) So you will say to me, "well those
idiots don't research their animals before buying their snakes."
But remember that a lot of these people seem to me to be people who are
walking into a mall pet store or something and see that little baby burmese
python. Remember a lot of people still don't know the internet
too well and don't know that iguanas can get MBD or that burms will grow
*that* fast. They know the basics and I think most of us who are
getting into something foreign only know the basics as well and we learn
as we go.
People are naive, I am. I will believe things you tell me, especially
if you are someone who works in a pet shop and seemingly "knows"
what he/she is talking about and I am but a layperson. So, I go
by this expert's advice and something goes wrong. The burm doesn't
grow to only 6 feet, it gets that size in 6 months! I think you
all know what I am talking about... look at the little pet shop of horror
stories we have
all come accustomed to seeing here every week or so.
Again, the intentions are good... maybe they stepped in a bit too much
or underestimated the task of keeping a certain herp but, don't tell me
that ANY of you haven't done so either. We all make mistakes, don't
jump on them for making a rookie mistake (and I mean this for those who
buy their first reptile and it's an iggy or burm or retic, etc.).
I would be more than lying if I said I haven't done that either. Sometimes,
it's just too difficult (whether because of monetary, space, etc. considerations)
to adjust to the mistake/misjudgment and someone needs a fresh start.
Let them try and let us do our best to help them. Anger, hatred and vile
words just drive people away, it NEVER works to solve anything.
So what can we do? What should we do?
Firstly, don't jump on people so quickly... it's no fun to get yelled
at especially if you know you did make a mistake. So why do it? None
of us would like that... Let's do what we can to help them out in
their current situation and to help them understand that they need to
look deeper and ask more questions before getting any herp. People
could easily have jumped on me for making mistakes as I could have to
others but why? It doesn't help. Let's all lend a helping
Ahh, and here's the key: WE, as herpers, need to get involved more.
No, this doesn't mean everyone going to Orlando every summer to buy lots
of herps nor does it even mean going to our happy little herp society
every two weeks or what ever. The people at the shows and at the
herp society are what we are all about, they know about the herps, how
to properly prepare for their care, etc. We NEED to go out there
and do educational shows to schools from elementary to college.
This information needs to get to those who barely know what an iguana
is besides that it might be cool to have a dinosaur-looking lizard as
a pet. Get involved at your local pet shops. Help find caresheets
that they can hand out for the main herps they sell and make sure that
they are giving out the proper information on herps and their care when
they are pitching a sell. Do more publicly involved herp presentations
like herp society shows or something. Be public about things.
When something negative about herps shows up in the newsletter, let's
be quick about getting a response to the respective editor stating our
(and/or local herp society's) position on why that incident happened and
about how that is usually prevented, etc.
It's much easier for all of us to read posts and type "what the heck
were you thinking?!?!?!?!" than to go out there, take our time and
use OUR money to help educate people. Everyone who keeps herps says
they love herps and loves keeping herps, so lets put some money into preserving
these two things we love and share our experience with everyone so that
they should not make the mistakes that we see so often. Every herp
group seems to be asking for donations. To me, the best donation
we can make to herpetoculture is the $20 into the gas of your car and
the few hours out of your day to go to a school and do a talk about herps
and keeping of herps. Because once people learn more about herps,
they can ask better questions and we will see decline in the number of
"I need to get rid of my..." posts and see more posts on the
topic of herps and herpetoculture.
We are at an all-time uphill battle here. It is the steepest slope
we've ever had to climb. Herpetoculture is at its peak in popularity
and more and more people are getting into herps. MANY pet shops
would more than happily tell beginners something false or a distorted
truth than to tell them the truth and not make the sell. Trust me,
I've seen a lot of it. For example:
"oh, that baby Burmese python will only get about 6' long" <--
as I stand there while I have my 13' Burm at home.
"your corn snake needs a special UV light and you can't use a regular
light bulb for it, you need our [$25] ceramic or special light bulb"
"oh, they only live in colonies so you have to buy 10 of them"
non-herp example but one a friend who works at a pet shop told me about
when she overheard her boss tell a customer about a fish species.
She has been keeping one of them by itself for several years w/o problems.
That's our problem... let's not bitch about it, let's take care of it.
Inform the newbies and help them learn from our mistakes! Then we
can go back to talking about how cool our Sandfire bearded dragon is or
how our emeralds are better than chondros :)
These above thoughts (if you wish to call them that) belong to me and
me only. They are only my opinions and you are more than welcomed
to agree are disagree. However, no matter how much you disagree
with me, I will not change my opinion so don't try :)
If you want to flame someone because they are trying to dump an unwanted
herp off, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and include all the swear words, insults, etc. that you wish instead of
replying to them... I don't mind because nothing can turn me away from
paul huang <-- highly imperfect and often makes "rookie"