It’s a Reptile Invasion!

My son and daughter in law and I volunteer with an amazing reptile rescue. Jess and Brent operate the rescue,, out of their home in Red Lion, PA. It’s a non-profit, 501c3. They have a FB page that tells about the rescue. If you are local, you can follow their FB page to see where the shows will be.

They do educational shows in venues around their area. (Lancaster, York, Hanover PA and Westminster MD are some examples.) A group of us are volunteers and friends who go to help to show the reptiles to the public, and the shows are very popular.

We show many species of snakes, several species of iguanas, tegus, geckos, even a Sudan plated lizard. Oh and sometimes a tarantula. I avoid him, but lots of people like him too.

That’s me with Victoria, my favorite snake. She is a Dumeril’s boa, named for the man who first discovered the species. Some are being bred in this country now, but the original ones come only from the island of Madagascar.

The shows have several good purposes. They educate the public that reptiles, even snakes, won’t hurt you. (Identified, pet snakes. We don’t want anybody to pick up an unidentified snake in their yard!) We try to reduce some fear that people have by letting them hold the snakes, or if they can’t manage that, even touching them with one finger. Many people now keep pet snakes so sometimes people walk up to us with a gleam in their eyes, reaching out and asking if they can hold this one. That’s always fun.

Many people ask about husbandry of reptiles: the proper way to keep each species: enclosure size, food, light, heat, all the things that people need to know to have happy, healthy reptiles.

Another good purpose is discussing the concept of rescue. Sometimes people get a reptile and later find out that, for whatever reason, they just can’t keep it. We are here to say, DON’T turn it loose in your yard! There are some places in the south where tegus and large snakes are now a significant problem, from some escaping from breeders in bad storms, and some people releasing them. If you find yourself with a reptile you can’t keep, call a rescue like Reptile Invasions and they will take the animal and give it a good home.

We have horror stories. For instance, one of their 3′ adult tegus was abandoned. People moved out of their apartment and left the animal in there alone. About a week later, a crew came to clean the apartment and there was this………..thing! People don’t know what a tegu is, so they called Reptile Invasions and said they had a large lizard, would they come and take it? This animal was in there all that time without food, water, or the right heat or UV light.

When RI gets an animal, the animal gets good care. They get good living conditions with the right kinds of food, heat and critical UV light in enclosures of the right size. When needed, they take them to a good exotic vet to be sure all are healthy, to live a good life, be around the other reptiles and go to the shows.

They also take animals to birthday parties, which are very popular too. And, Jess bakes amazing birthday cakes for the parties! The parties help to raise some funding for the expenses of keeping so many animals so well and they are happy to receive donations at the shows and in other ways.

So, it’s fun for us, fun for the public and educational in so many ways. Come and see us if you’re anywhere near!

45 responses to “It’s a Reptile Invasion!

  1. Thank you so much for this very interesting post. But to be honest, it was also a little bit scary… 😉
    I would never, never pick up a snake that size, or even smaller… I’m afraid I’ll be dreaming about it tonight!

    Glad to see you all had a wonderful time, my dear friend! I really enjoyed this post!

    • Oh no, I didn’t want to give you dreams! 😳 This is a regular thing we do 1-2 times a month. I do enjoy them. And I pick up and carry around 2 that are bigger than her. Of you’ve never had any good interactions with snakes, they can be scary. I don’t know why anybody would ever want one for a pet, mostly because they need to eat small mammals and I like my vegan desert lizards, but I’ll handle them, show them. And give them back. 😉

  2. !
    I could not be farther away from Pennsylvania! I was so determined to not be disturbed by pictures on your next post, but this pile of three is just too much!

  3. These people are awesome, as are you! May I share this very soon on
    Also, damn those people for leaving a helpless angel alone to suffer and die. Damn them!!

    • Thanks, it’s fun and I enjoy it. Yes, please share wherever! That tegu was Taz, in the first picture. He’s a happy boy now living with Jess and Brent. The smaller green iguana in the last picture is also a horror story. That’s poor Freddy, with several bone deformities from MBD. (Short back story is: small glass tank, no UVB, crickets as food.). Freddy is a sweetheart and also now happy with Jess and Brent, with the proper life to prevent MBD from getting any worse. Sharing, even nowhere near us, might raise some awareness that reptiles are sweet sentient beings who are deserving of our good love and care, and can add so much to our lives. And might make some people think about doing some good rescue stuff themselves!

      • Thankfully most of their animals are not horror stories; people just needed to give them up. They will allow adoptions of some of them to well vetted homes. They gave Chuckie to me because he can’t be out of his heat long enough to go to the shows. So they cleared some space for some animal that needed a good home, and Chuckie got a good home and I got my crazy little chuck who keeps me entertained every day. Win win. 🙂

      • Well, they’ve been treated like an oversized couch they just can’t keep by their families, but at least most are not horrific tales.
        Am so, so glad yours and Chuckie’s lives came together!

      • He’s a happy chuck. He consistently gains 10 grams every month. He was healthy when I got him, and on we go! I’m so glad too.

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