Unfortunately, reptiles are like most other animals in the pet trade, IMPULSE BUYS! This can lead to disaster for the animal, and the owner in some cases. Reptiles have specific day-to-day needs that, if not followed, can lead to illness. Most illnesses in reptiles are due to improper husbandry. You owe it to yourself and to the animal to do research on proper husbandy and nutritional requirements for that specific animal. Due to the sometimes intense requirements in keeping reptiles, children may not be well-suited owners. Parents should not expect their children to totally meet all these requirements on their own.

Another BIG mistake is to buy hatchlings "that are so cute" and not take into consideration the size the reptile will get when it reaches adulthood. All to often R.A.I.S.E.S. receives calls about an animal being "much too big now" and "we have no place to keep it". Do you really think you can handle a snake that sometimes exceeds lengths of 20 feet (i.e. Burmese python / Reticulated python)? This could be prevented by doing research beforehand. There are plenty of books and

great websites for different animals. Never rely solely on what a pet store clerk tells you. Often times they cannot answer your question appropriately. They may have good intentions, but you cannot expect to learn everything you need to know about an animal from a pet store clerk. If you truly have an interest in the animal, a little research will help you and can prove to be very interesting and informative.

In some cases, people become afraid due to an animal becoming aggressive, so they no longer want it. Just know ahead of time that no one can guarantee the temperament of a reptile. They are unpredictable animals. If they feel threatened, they will bite! In a lot of cases, it is human error that causes these aggressive scenarios. An example of this would be getting bitten by a snake during feedings. This could be prevented by using tongs for feeding and not your hands. Also, animals neglected and not handled for long periods of time may feel threatened when being picked up and bite as a defense.

This is not meant to seem harsh to potential buyers, or to people who have given up reptiles in the past. Some reptiles make good pets, but not if you are uninformed. R.A.I.S.E.S. does not mind taking in unwanted reptiles (this is what we are here for), but prevention is everything. We would like to prevent others from walking down the same path as so many others before them have. Just know what you are getting into before you buy!



Treatment This Burmese Python was kept in a very cold environment without any supplemental heat source. He developed an upper respiratory infection that required treatment. Upon arrival to R.A.I.S.E.S. he was started on injectable antibiotics and is doing great now!
Shell Treatment This is one of three Diamond Back Terrapins that were rescued from being "Turtle Soup" in Chinatown!! Due to the improper conditions they were kept in (obviously the market did not care about proper husbandry since they were to be made into soup), they developed shell lesions which were treated topically when we received them.
Bearded Dragon Daisy did not receive a properly balanced diet as a hatchling and does not have use of her front limbs now in adulthood because of it. She was deprived of the essential nutrients (calcium), so her bones did not form or strengthen properly. As you can see, she gets what she needs here, and is very spoiled in the process.
Ball Python scar The scar on this Ball Python is the result of using faulty heating equipment such as heat rocks (a very common occurence). Unfortunately, many of these store bought devices do not have thermostats and can get extremely HOT! Reptiles do not have the "neurologic process" that alerts them to remove themselves from something that is too hot, which results in burns such as this one.








  • Is it legal?
  • Where does it come from? (indigenous reptiles are illegal without special permits [Georgia] )
  • What kind of substrate can I use safely?
  • What kind of enclosure will best suit its needs? (arboreal / terrestrial / aquatic)
  • Do I have space?
  • Is it nocturnal / diurnal? (will it need UVB or high wattage bulbs)
  • What are its heat / humidity requirements?
  • How big does it get?
  • What does it eat? (omnivore / insectivore / herbivore / carnivore - this may entail buying and feeding rodents)
  • Can I afford to properly care for it?

If you still think you would be a great reptile owner, just remember to be responsible. Bringing snakes in public to "show off" (i.e. around your neck) is irresponsible and can cause the public and your animal unneccessary stress. You have to respect the fact that people do fear them and they do not want to see them. You are doing the animal a great injustice in the end by showing them off to unwilling participants. If you really want to show them off, offer educational programs. Teach willing participants about them and the need to conserve them. Do not reinforce people's fears by carrying them around in public.