Hey folks! I have 20 rules for reptile keepers…
do they apply to you? Find out today in this episode.
Welcome to ReptileMountain.TV I’m TC Houston a former AZA zookeeper with over 30 years
of experience keeping reptiles and amphibians in captivity. This channel is dedicated to
evidence-based reptile care where opinion is not fact. If you are new please subscribe
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won’t be responding to comments on old videos any longer due to the insane volume of questions,
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I have 20 rules, more like ideals or guidelines actually, for being a successful and responsible
reptile keeper in the postmodern era of reptile super shows, social media groups, PetTubers,
and self professed experts galore. Before I get to them let me set the stage.
Keeping reptiles in captivity has occurred for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians
kept crocodiles in homage to the god Sobek nearly a 3000 years ago. More so, the oldest
contemporary record of reptile keeping indicates a tortoise was kept back in 1625 in London
and in 1797 the first “care guide” was published. Do you think they used 5.0 of 10.0
UVB bulbs. Since then there has been a tremendous amount of technological advances that have
propelled reptile keeping into the mainstream world with nearly 1 in 20 households in the
USA having at least one pet reptile according to a recent email sent out by US Association
of Reptile Keepers. With all this growth we, that is all of us
reptile keepers, really need to get a grip on how to interact and proceed. Afterall,
our animals depend on us, getting the cart before the horse to to speak could result
in horrific results for the creatures we all dearly love. I do not presume to have it all
figured out, or claim to be above the muck myself, I’m just trying to suggest a motion
toward a solution. My proposed ideals (rules) to live by are:
All life holds intrinsic value and should be respected regardless of abundance, rarity,
or market worth. Animal welfare is not optional nor flexible.
In captivity animals must be free from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, distress, and must
be given the freedom to express normal behavior. Everyone started somewhere with less knowledge
than they have now. It is normal and appropriate to learn, grow, and develop skills over time.
Have patience with one another. Nearly all reptile keepers and breeders are
enthusiasts who hold a passion for the amazing animals they keep. Most want the best for
the animals in their care within their abilities, skill set, and understanding.
Nearly all reptile keepers and breeders are hobbyists and do their reptile work as a recreational
activity in their “free time” not as a means of making a living
All reptile keepers and breeders are human beings. Many have families and friends who
love and appreciate them and their time. Human dignity must never be overlooked.
Time is a fleeting resource for everyone. Many keepers and breeders chose to volunteer
their time and energy to help fellow enthusiasts as a gift not an obligation. Their time should
be respected and appreciated, not demanded. The internet holds a wealth of knowledge and
data that is passively available, and in most cases free. Exhausting available resources
before contacting other keepers is advisable. It is best to seek low level support first,
such as asking a question in a group or forum before asking an experienced keeper or breeder
directly. Many groups, forums, and communities have
established rules, guidelines, and/or codes of conduct. Read them before engaging them.
It’s wise to learn the rules before you play the game. Don’t agree… then don’t
play. When inquiring about availability and/or prices,
first ensure that they are not already listed in the particular ad or on the breeder/seller’s
website. Ensure that you actually have money, space,
intent to buy, and basic knowledge about the animal(s) prior to inquiring about availability/pricing.
An idea about animal care is just an idea, it is neither good nor bad on its own. Once
tested and or applied, the process and outcome will dictate what value the idea holds. Therefore,
ideas are ideas and facts are facts. Until an idea has been proven to be true it cannot
and should not be considered a fact when it comes to animal care.
Rely on measurable outcomes that are tangible rather than perceptions and projections when
determining animal care. Measurements should not be emotionally-based yet rather objective
and rational. Caring for reptiles is not as precise as chemistry.
Many species have a broad range of husbandry parameters that allow for thriving. Therefore
give liberty to fellow keepers within those parameters.
Captive reptiles cannot survive without the people who care for them. Therefore give appropriate
respect to keeping an open dialogue. A statement such as, “I don’t care about their feelings
I care about their animals,” is a statement of wasted energy and imminent failure.
Always seek sustainability. Captive breeding is the best course for conservation and sustainability
of wild populations when dealing with the wildlife trade.
All citizens of a community represent that community to outsiders. Every reptile keeper
is a representative of the whole community from outsiders’ perspectives. Honor this
responsibility wisely. Reptile Buyers and Reptile Sellers hold equal
responsibility in the exchange. Selling to an uninformed person is equally as unethical
as buying when uninformed. Give credit where credit is due and give criticism where criticism
is due. Accountability is everyone’s responsibility. A keeper or breeder’s success is everyone’s
success. Make a conscious effort to keep competition healthy and sportsmanship alive. If someone’s
success is upsetting then there is something wrong from within. Deal with personal issues
personally rather than projecting them upon others.
These 20 ideals are what I try to live by and I hope that maybe some of you out there
might agree. This is only a start. There is so much good and positive to be experienced
by keeping reptiles in captivity and sharing our passion with one another. So let’s get
a grip on this thing we call a community and thrive!
Thank you guys to much for watching! Please check out another one of my videos right down
there!!! Thank you patrons you are the best ever! I’m TC Houston and remember opinion
is not fact!