Not all superheroes wear capes
Stories about the reptile community pulling together and going beyond the call of duty are becoming relatively commonplace. A case in point occurred this week when the National Centre for Reptile Welfare received a call about a reptile collection that needed urgent attention. The alarm was sounded when friends of the keeper in question saw a post on Facebook sharing condolences about the keeper’s passing. Quickly realising that the keeper had lived alone and his collection would need to be dealt with, a call was made to NCRW.
The collection was located over four hours drive from NCRW and comprised over 100 turtles – not particularly easy animals to rehome. A few phone calls and half an hour later, someone from a local reptile store was on site at the keeper’s home and able to collect the turtles and take them into temporary care at their home. To have taken the time out of their no-doubt busy day and spent money driving to deal with this issue is to be heartily applauded. I hope to be able to give due credit at a later date, but the details of this situation are sensitive and confidential at present.
The landlord of the property was particularly relieved the situation was being dealt with. A call to the RSPCA had proven fruitless as they apparently could not help. But thanks to a group of concerned herpers and the NCRW’s network of selfless supporters, the turtles were all dealt with and removed to a temporary place of care within just a few hours. Which then begs the question, what do you do with over 100 turtles?
Again, the herpetological community stepped up, and within 24 hours all but three of the turtles had been rehomed. Volunteers coordinated a relay race to get all of the turtles to their new home, collecting and distributing turtles around the country.
Although this was an extreme example, events of this nature occur relatively frequently, with the herp community pulling together to solve a problem. There’s talk of a small ring-fenced fund being set up to reimburse these superhero supporters for the petrol expenses they occur while undertaking these missions. I have no doubt that the vast majority of reptile keepers would step up to help in these situations if they are able. Hopefully the knowledge that they will not be out of pocket if they do help will reassure those who might have that worry.
I think it’s a wonderful idea. If other agencies can’t or won’t help then we as a community must continue to rise to the challenge. If the cost of petrol is a stumbling block which could deter some from helping, then that’s a relatively easy challenge to solve. A fund that reimburses travel costs in these situations will make all the difference. I’ll provide details of how to donate to the fund in a future column. In the meantime, simply contact the National Centre for Reptile Welfare to donate to this extremely worthy cause.
Leopard gecko research
It’s great to see students at Hadlow College in Kent researching some of the important questions faced by reptile keepers. BSc Animal Conservation & Biodiversity degree student Emily Simms is studying substrate preference in leopard geckos. Your customers who are leopard gecko owners can help by filling in Emily’s short questionnaire. It takes less than five minutes and could help advance our understanding of leopard gecko husbandry. Visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7YG8MFL