Why I Rescue Reptiles (And Don't Buy Them)

In honor of my late leopard gecko Ángel, I wanted to make a podcast and video about why I went from buying reptiles to rescuing them. Rescuing reptiles is good for the hobby, and in this episode I explain why it can be a great thing for you and your new gecko too. You can find the YouTube version in the links below.

DJ Psyched 0:00
Welcome back. I'm DJ psyched you're watching the Get Psyched YouTube channel. And this is Get Psyched reptiles where I talk more about my leopard geckos, reptiles, rescue and all that kind of stuff. And today I'm talking about why it is that I prefer to rescue reptiles instead of buying them.

I'm DJ psyched, and you're listening to the Get Psyched podcast. Let's Get Psyched together. I did write a blog on this topic like just a week ago. And I wanted to make it in video format to spread this information a little further for anyone else who's interested in rescuing reptiles and why it is that I would prefer to do that over buying reptiles. At this point, I don't see myself buying a reptile. Unless it's a hognose snake because it's kind of hard to just rescue a hognose snake there's not a bunch of Hognose Snakes that are just at rescues right now. So otherwise, I can't see myself buying a reptile. And I want to explain why in this video. It's going to kind of follow the blog, but it's also not a I'm not going to do it exactly by the blog. So if you want to see all the information that I have about this, you can check that out in the description below. But otherwise, I'm gonna go ahead and give you some of the best reasons why it is that I prefer to rescue reptiles over buying them. My first thing I want to say before I fully jump into the reasons is that currently I have four reptiles, three are Leopard Geckos that came from the Reptile Rescue be wild and one is a ball python that also came from the Reptile Rescue be wild. They're not the only reptile has ever had. I have one other leopard gecko who actually I haven't acknowledged it on this channel yet. And I wanted to make a whole video to acknowledge it and I might in the future. But right now, I feel okay, I'm content with just the blog I made about it. But my first ever leopard gecko on Hill, he passed away just a couple months ago, maybe it wasn't long ago at all. And it was actually a part of the reason that I stopped creating content for a short period of time I didn't really feel in the mood to make blogs or videos. So I kind of paused my whole project of Get Psyched reptiles for a while because he passed away around the time I launched this new side of my channel and online creativeness. So I kind of took a little break from it, but I'm back and just so you know, gets like reptiles as a whole what it is, is just kind of like informational content about reptiles. I do YouTube videos, blogs. And I also have an Etsy where I sell stickers. It's kind of where it's starting. I'm hoping to actually branch out and have a real reptile business someday but we're starting here so yeah, so on he'll passed away he is the only reptile I've ever had that wasn't rescued his situation is actually what really inspired me to make this video because when I was feeling down about losing Angel, and you know I did a lot of things try to feel better. I made him memorials that are in this room with the reptiles. I I made a scrapbook with him i pictures of him everywhere. I even got his little his little prints tattooed up on my arm here. So I was doing all these kinds of things to try to remember Angel recognize him. I was also dealing with like the logistical side of losing Angel, you know, I had to clean out his terrarium. I had to get him cremated, it was all these things that were happening. And during the process, I decided to move my leopard gecko Flir One of my rescues into his old home because he had a 40 gallon, whereas she has something that's sort of a 30 gallon, a little smaller than 30 gallons. And so I wanted to move her to the 40 gallon since she had been living in that enclosure for a while when I was doing that. And I kept thinking about it, seeing her enclosure empty, didn't feel very good, because I volunteer at be wild Reptile Rescue not too far away from me. And I see a lot of leopard geckos in there that come in and out a lot with Nbd a lot with different just all kinds of conditions, leopard geckos that just weren't cared for properly. And now they're in a rescue waiting for someone to get them. And all I could think was I have the capacity to take care of a third leopard gecko, I already had three Leopard Geckos. And now I have two and I have all of the supplies to take care of another leopard gecko, it would just take cleaning everything off, and maybe grabbing a few new things like a new set of tongs and stuff like that. So it was just really affordable for me to take another leopard gecko. So I couldn't shake thinking that not to replace on help, because I could never replace on How I miss my big boy. He was he was a unit. He was big. He was a big leopard gecko. He was really friendly. He was my first leopard gecko. He's the reason I love reptiles. And it wasn't to replace him. But to kind of honor him. Taking it another leopard gecko taking care of that leopard gecko, giving that leopard gecko, the best life I can, that I felt would make me feel better. And it was the situation where I had been to be wild a lot because I volunteered there. I'd seen this one particularly leopard gecko. When I went on the website, he was still up for adoption. And I remember the first time I saw him, I thought he was adorable. I loved his name. And that's how I got Mariano. He's my newest leopard gecko. I adopted him I'd say like a month or so after all, hell passed. And I've had so much fun having him here. He's really sweet. And while he can't, you know, he will never be a replacement on Hill. He's just made me feel I'm happy that I could at least use those resources with another Gecko to give that Gecko a better life. So that's one of the reasons actually, that long story is one of the reasons why I rescued reptiles instead of buying them is that it feels good to take care of a leopard gecko that's in a bad situation. And

if I have the means, I would rather put that money into a gecko that hasn't had a chance, then to buy a gecko, you know, just straight up, buy a gecko and take care of that Gecko. While there's nothing wrong with that, and I don't say that I'm not gonna sit here and say buying reptiles is wrong, especially if you do it from a reputable breeder. But rescuing a reptile giving a reptile a second chance, it just feels good. And for anyone, maybe who's gone through a loss of a reptile, I think it's an awesome thing to do to, you know, make yourself feel like you're contributing to community. But you don't have to lose a gecko to rescue you. I mean, I had already rescued three reptiles before I lost on hell. But Mariano makes my fourth reptile that I've rescued. And so going back to that last point about, you know, reputable breeders and whatnot. One point that I put in my article that's really important to me, is that I am very anti buying from a pet store. And that is one reason I'm pro rescuing. Whether you rescue or you buy from a reputable breeder, avoiding big chain pet stores is important for reptile care. These big chain pet stores might sell reptiles for cheap, they might sell reptile supplies that you want to use. But what they do to reptiles, how they treat reptiles, and what they do to the community as a whole just is not worth saving a few bucks to get a cheap reptile, they do not take good care of the reptiles in the facilities. Most of the time, staffs are not trained to take care of them properly. They give out false information on care for reptiles, so people who go into a store and they're like, oh, they'll tell me how to take care of this reptile. That's oftentimes how you get all of these geckos with MBD. And you know, like, scale rot, or, you know, they can have eye infections, ear infections, all this stuff, because they weren't taught how to properly care for their Gecko. Those things alone are just some reasons why pet stores are problematic. But the overall thing that makes it really problematic is that these mass breeders, they just start breeding reptiles like crazy, they don't take good care of them, they don't need to if they put money into husbandry and care and paying people to take great care of these reptiles, they won't profit and they won't sell them. For as cheap as they do, they would either have to mark the price up a lot, which would just make them not as sellable. Because you would just go to a reputable breeder near you. Or they could do what they're doing and sell them for super cheap, and giving them super cheap care, meaning that a bunch of them get injured and killed in the process of getting to the pet store. If you ever been to a pet store and looked at the reptiles, you can sometimes find reptiles that have issues already in the store, because they weren't cared for properly in breeding. And most of the time, they'll get rid of those geckos and just let them die, which is horrible and inhumane in so many ways. But sometimes you will see them in the store, whether they're injured when they got there, or they got injured in the store, because of improper care, you'll just see an injured reptile sitting there, or you'll see improper husbandry right in front of your eyes. And that kind of stuff just isn't good for the community isn't good for reptiles. And all it does is perpetuate this cycle of people doing little research, going into a pet store, grabbing a pet, taking bad care of it, and then they end up in a risk to avoid that cycle. We should not support the big chain pet stores. And we should take the reptiles out of the rescues that are there because they came from a big chain pet store. I can't you know, say with all facts that all the reptiles I see come from pet stores, that's probably not true. But I I would guess if I had to say that the majority of reptiles that we see go through the reptile rescues came from a pet store, because they're so affordable that just about anyone can get one whether they know or care about reptiles. To them, it could just be a Christmas gift for a kid. I'm gonna give my kid a leopard gecko, the kid doesn't want a leopard gecko, the kid stops caring about leopard gecko. And all of a sudden you have this leopard gecko that's not being cared for, and they put it into rescue. And when you go to a reputable breeder, sometimes people don't like doing that. Because it can be really expensive. You know, breeders are taking care of your pets. They're doing really good care and breeding them, you know, if they're reputable, all the work they put in, and that's what they're charging you. And they're also charging you to make sure they're going to a good home. So with those charges, sometimes you can pay over $100 for leopard gecko as opposed to going to a pet store and paying under 20 bucks sometimes or however cheap they can get, but it's not worth it. Because it does, like I said it perpetuates that cycle. And it is I understand affordability. Trust me, I'm not a rich person at all. I think that's one of the reasons I'm going to go into it. Rescuing reptiles can be a lot cheaper than buying them in some ways, but putting in that little bit of extra money to make sure that you are getting a quality pet that's been cared for and it's not going to perpetuate a cycle of uncared for pets. And also the money proves that you really want it because you wouldn't save up 100 plus dollars for a leopard gecko if you didn't want that leopard gecko presumably it wouldn't solve the problem entirely, but it would help it if all reptiles were just a bit more expensive so only people who really wanted them could get them or if they were regulated more like dogs at a rescue and, you know, reptile rescues regulate who gets their pets you have to prove that you can care for your pet before you get him But big chain pet stores, you don't have to prove that you can take care of that reptile, you just take it home. Same thing with their fish in a lot of their mammals. But I'm just talking about reptiles for the purpose of this video.

That's one reason that I think rescuing is better than buying from big chain store. Because big chain stores, bad perpetuation for the community. And then buying either from a reputable breeder or rescuing a reptile is going to be better for the community as a whole. That being said, I'm gonna say this now, on Hill, my first ever leopard gecko came from a big chain pet store. That's why I preach this, I don't preach it because I'm trying to knock people who do it because I think you're evil if you do it. If you don't know you don't know. And I didn't know when I got on Hill. When I got on Hill, I had just kind of got really interested in reptiles. I started doing research at home, I knew what he needed for his care. But I wasn't doing good enough research because I didn't realize that a pet store was a bad place to get him from. But so I did it. I got him from a pet store. And when I got him, I became a super obsessed parent, I was obsessed with making sure that everything was perfect for him, I was scared of anything being wrong, I checked his temperatures a million times a day, I checked on him a million times a day without bothering him too much. And I just constantly was trying to upgrade his husband tree joining every group. And so that's how I got into Reddit. Like I'm a huge fan of Reddit now. And that's because I found Reddit as a great source for information for my leopard gecko. And I just kept learning I started following people like go herping, leopard gecko on YouTube, working with reptiles, etc. And I started doing just so much research watching so many videos reading so many things. And that's what made me love reptile so much maybe improve on healthcare and made me want to care for other reptiles because I had realized my mistake, once I realized that buy for a pet store was a big no no. And I should not have done that. I wanted to make up for it in some kind of way, because I loved reptiles at that point. And that's when I decided to look online and see if there was any way I could work with reptiles, I can volunteer with them. And that's when I found be wild, I became a volunteer. And that's when I started rescuing reptiles. So if you bought from pet chainstore before, this is just my little point here is that you don't need to feel horrible about it. You don't need to go out and volunteer I'm not. I'm not saying you need to find a rescue volunteer or you need to rescue to make up for I'm not saying that at all. But now that you know, if you know somebody who's gonna go get from a pet store, encourage them not to encourage them to maybe find a rescue. And for future preferences, if you choose to get another reptile don't do that. But you don't have to feel bad about it. I feel bad about it sometimes. But I didn't know. And I know now. And I'm using this information to help other people not make my mistake, which is something that you could do, and something that I could do. And something that makes a small difference. But yeah, I got my first reptile from a pet store. And he made me really love reptiles really involved in reptiles. And he's what inspired me to put myself in the situation of being at a rescue and loving rescues and working with rescues. So that's, that's another reason to do it. It's like it's it's like, I'm just kind of going in circles here. But I'm trying to make my point. It's really healthy to rescue reptiles, it's good for the community. And now I want to go over some things as to what you can get out of adopting a reptile from a rescue. So like I said, it can get kind of expensive if you want to go out and get a reptile from a breeder. And if you want to avoid that one thing you can do is go to a rescue. A lot of the times rescues will have fees that are less expensive, because they're looking for quality care not making a fortune. And you know, sometimes they're nonprofits, and they're not going to be as expensive to get the reptile. That being said, I'm not saying go out and mass buy from rescues. If you're not going to care for your pet, they are going to ask you questions, they are going to make sure that you're suitable. So you will have a process it is something you should be serious about. And here's another point as to why you should be serious about it. You need to know about the animals that you're getting. You need to understand things about them because not only are they going to ask you questions, but if a reptile is in a rescue, there is a chance that that reptile might have something going on with them because of previous care whether that's metabolic bone disease. I've already talked about our mentioned MBD a bit in this video. This what if they have an eye infection? You know, what are their vet records? Like? Do they know about the health of this pet? You want to know these things when you go to a rescue because you want to make sure you're getting a pet that you are capable of taking care of? Do you know how to treat MBD? You know Do you understand that there might be more vet bills involved in that situation. That's that's one thing to really consider with rescuing. Knowing the condition of the reptile understanding how the reptile is understanding the history of the reptile and knowing if it's something that you can afford to put the time and effort into my girls Sybil. She was the first reptile I ever rescued from the wild. She had really or she has really bad MBD. And on top of that she stopped eating one day and it was not related to her MBD. It turns out she has cryptosporidium and that was something that nobody knew about nobody expected. It was nobody's fault. But it was one of those situations where it was like Oh no. Oh no, she

has Cryptosporidium this is going to be expensive to treat hard to treat. I thought I was gonna lose her at one point she wasn't eating at all sick tail if you know that's like its other name can be really deadly Leopard Geckos. It's incurable and it can only be treated. She has been a trooper. It has been well over six months since she was diagnosed and she can eat poop shed she's doing well. She's being hand fed right now. But that's for other reasons. So So yeah, that's one thing to consider is that the vet bills might go up and it's more work. I have to give Sybil medicine. Sometimes when she's, you know, not doing so well when I take her to the vet. First of all, it's a veteran I have to pay for I have to pay for medicine, then I have to put the time and effort in into giving her medicine sometimes multiple times a day, multiple times a week, it's more effort to care for Sybil than it is for any of my other Leopard Geckos. And it's even harder because since she has this condition, she's in a separate room. I have to handle her last, so I always have to keep it in the back of my mind. When was the last time I touched Sybil? What am I going to do for the other reptiles before I touch Sybil to make sure they're okay, it's this whole thing now. And so that's something to consider when you're rescuing reptiles, you know, do you have the time and availability and money for it, but I only bring up that point because I'm not just gonna sit here and say it's cheaper to get them from a rescue and then let you be and find out on your own that bills aren't a thing. However, I don't want to discourage anyone from going to Reptile Rescue. Because Fleur Mariano and Persephone have not required intensive vet visits, just regular checkups, which you should do whether it's a rescue or you buy them, annual checkups for a reptile is recommended. If you can afford that I would highly recommend you do it. It's really good for your pet. So they haven't they have not needed intensive care anything. So it's not guaranteed to happen. That's why I said just know the animal know what questions to ask no know what to go into the Reptile Rescue thinking and looking for before you get a pet. And that's a huge bonus is that it is more affordable. Something else. Number two, a really big bonus to rescuing reptiles is getting to understand their behavior and getting to understand them before you even adopt them. Reptile rescues will often have to spend at least a month or so whatever their requirement is to quarantine the pet, make sure they're okay before they put them up on their website. That means that the people who work at the Reptile Rescue or volunteer there, they know these reptiles, they've hung out with them for at least a month or several months, depending on the condition of the reptile. And they're gonna be able to tell you temperament habits is their you know, you're gonna be able to tell you illnesses, all that stuff like I already mentioned, they're going to be able to tell you dietary preferences, everything you could think of, they'll even sometimes be able to, you know give you an idea of like Wait progression. This is reptile gain weight recently lost weight, you'll get to know all kinds of information about the reptile that you might not get from a reputable breeder even because a lot of the times when you buy from a breeder, you'll end up buying these babies, and then they'll grow up and you'll learn their temperament and habits as you have them. But a rescue is usually full of adult or older reptiles. And they have their personalities already, they have their habits already. And you're just going to learn about them learn about their progress, a lot of the times rescues will put in that work to make them healthy. Again, rescues will put in that effort to socialize them this effort that the original owner didn't put in the rescues put in and you're able to get all this information about the reptile and you know about the care that it's gotten previously, if it's a reputable rescue, you're in good hands. So that's a really big bonus to getting a reptile at rescues, you get to know more about that reptile. And you just can ask, he can ask questions and see and learn about the reptile before you get them. Which I think is like a huge perk. The third perk that I'm going to mention, which I think is really neat, is keep your eye open. If you have a local Reptile Rescue, just, you know, check the website every now and again. Or if you volunteer ask about them, whatever. Sometimes there's going to be pets up for adoption that you won't find everywhere. Whether that's a morph that you don't see every day, whether that's a species you don't see every day sometimes be wild gets really cool morphs of a certain like leopard gecko or Ball Python or whatever. And sometimes they get reptiles that you're not used to seeing things that aren't the most common household reptiles. And it's a really neat chance to learn more about reptiles and to also have a reptile that's unique in some way. My ball python Persephone that I got from the Reptile Rescue she's a champagne lesser Ball Python,

I would never buy a champagne lesser I wouldn't bought I wouldn't buy a spider Ball Python. That's a personal preference because of the wobble thing. Therefore, my one chance to ever have a champagne lesser is through rescuing. I wasn't looking for that I was never really a ball python person before I met Persephone, but I was interested when I heard about her case, and I just wanted to meet her and when I met her, she bit me and I just loved her because she was really sweet. And even though she was a little reactive, it was not aggressive. It wasn't scary. It was just it was just neat to hold her and hang out with her. And it's been neat to watch her the last couple of months that I've had her she's the last reptile that I rescued. Well, no, she's not Mariano is she was the last one before Mariano. She was the third reptile I got from the wild. And so that's another part right? You might find something really cool. And Persephone is really cool and really glad I have her and I would have never adopted while Python but when I met Persephone, I just I just had to have her and she's a really unique Ball Python to have. Like I said champagne lessors because of that neurological thing. A lot of people won't read them. Some people I'm sure do but they are pretty expensive because whenever i Whenever a leopard gecko or Ball Python is like white. I'll buy No looking like they usually just tend to be more expensive. And number four, this is the last one I'm gonna mention the video but I do have more in my blog post is how you can get closer to the reptile community by working, volunteering or adopting from a Reptile Rescue. Simply adopting from a Reptile Rescue can lead you to meeting more people who are into reptiles, my local Reptile Rescue has like a Facebook group that you can join after you adopt a reptile. So we can keep in touch, see how each other's reptiles are doing post pictures, videos, and just have this little community of people who've adopted from that Reptile Rescue, which I think is a super neat thing to have. You also probably meet people at the Reptile Rescue people you can talk to you. And you'll just have more to talk about because now you have this really cool reptile that you've rescued. And you can, I don't know why, like, what I like to do is I go on Reddit a lot and I post my rescues, I talk about them, I engage in conversation, I've learned so much from having rescues that I often engage in conversation on our slash leopard gecko and just talk about Leopard Geckos are answering the questions or just make funny comments about things the gecko is doing. It's just made me tighter to the reptile community. It's made me more involved. And it's made me more interested in it, which is a really cool perk to getting from A Reptile Rescue is that that bond you can get from the community, which you're not really likely to get if you go to a pet store and get a leopard gecko or something because a lot of people who go into pet stores are like me, let's say three years ago, somebody who didn't really know much about reptiles, somebody who wasn't involved in the community and somebody who wasn't yet a big member of the community. But a lot of the times people who are willing to rescue a reptile or volunteer at a Reptile Rescue or own Reptile Rescue, these people are going to be really involved in reptiles in the culture, and they're going to be excited to talk to other people about it. So it's a really cool chance to get involved. That's the last perk I'm gonna add because this video is just way longer than I expected. But I really love rescuing reptiles and I hope it comes through in this video that I'm not just trying to like sell something to you. Especially because I'm not at all sponsored by the my local Reptile Rescue or any Reptile Rescue. I just really enjoyed rescuing reptiles. It's such a big hobby of mine. I'm also not just trying to promote my business but I would be silly not to talk about it. I do have Get Psyched reptiles. It goes along with the whole Get Psyched thing I have Get Psyched reptiles. I launched it on Etsy. It's a sticker store. Mostly that's what I'm doing right now is one of my big things. I'm selling these custom stickers I made. And they are actually of my leopard gecko Sybil, she's the first one I rescued, she has Nbd first time I made a sticker of her it was to raise money for her treatment. And now I just sell these cute stickers of her because well, I mean, my money does go towards a lot of reptile care. But also I want to start building some kind of brand and reputation around caring for reptiles. And so that was just an easy way to do that. And of course, I'm also going to be supplementally making YouTube videos about reptiles and blogs. So if you have any topics you want me to cover in relation to leopard geckos, Ball Pythons, or reptiles in general, please let me know what you'd like to see. All my links will be in the description. If you're interested in getting involved in Get Psyched reptiles in any way. I'd be more than happy to talk to anyone if you want to talk and get involved in the reptile community you can comment below because I'm sure this video will attract reptile fans if it attracts anyone at all. So thank you so much for sticking around. Till next time. Stay psyched. Thank you so much for listening. The intro and outro beat us on this podcast was made by my friend and produce your PMP he's super talented, so make sure to check him out. His links are always in the description. And as always, let me know what you're getting psyched about. I do this podcast because I think getting psyched is done best when we do it together. So please let me know and until next time, Stay psyched

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