A poorly informed reporter in California recently promoted a sad spectacle of exploitation and quoted freely from an outrageous news release from PETCO, which held a “rally” designed to promote and facilitate the purchase of snakes, turtles, and other exotic reptiles. If a business held such an absurd event to boost sales of puppy-mill pups or purebred kittens, folks who are appalled at the companion animal overpopulation crisis would rightly be outraged and likely protest. But countless reptiles are also victims of the ruthless pet trade; thousands of those who survive the horrific mortality after wild-capture and transport challenge the ability of already-overburdened humane agencies and reptile rescue groups to provide them with care and shelter.
PETCO’s release stated that reptiles “do not require exercise or an overabundance of attention.” While veterinarians will confirm that reptiles can become obese, require species-specific care, and some, in fact, need more exercise than moving around in a large (which is rarely the case) enclosure, PETCO would have everyone believe that you just buy them and let them sit like decorations. PETCO is not alone in promoting this misery of course—the sale of what are basically clear, plastic coffins for living frogs by Brookstone is just one other example of people treating animals like decorations or throw-away toys.
People who care can rally for reptiles by telling PETCO and PetSmart and other stores to end their sales of live animals.
Have you had experience with reptiles who were abandoned or abused?