Live Feeding and Reptiles - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-29-2007, 12:11 PM
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#2 Old 11-29-2007, 12:21 PM
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I'm not sure really, the thought of putting a live animal into a tank for another animal to eat it sickens me... i know that i couldn't do it, i'd feel so guilty.



I was interested in reptiles last year, and was thinking of getting one, i think they are very interesting creatures... but as far as i understand non are vegetarian? I think, could be wrong of course. I'd feel awful even feeding a reptile insects, but that's just me.
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#3 Old 11-29-2007, 12:29 PM
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I plan on adopting a bearded dragon or two one day, so I know I'll have the live feeding of the crickets. I will definitely try the pre-killed, though.



As far as snakes and others, I'm for pre-kill all the way. I've done live feeding and pre-killed pinkies/adults and it's just better all the way around for the food and the one eating to have pre-killed.



I had to feed a baby monitor a live mouse once. It was terrible; it shock the mouse so bad it ended up cracking the glass. It was all pre-kill after that.
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#4 Old 11-29-2007, 12:35 PM
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but as far as i understand non are vegetarian? I think, could be wrong of course.



I'm pretty sure all tortoises are herbivores. And the Green Iguana is usually cited as being herbivorous though I believe there is some debate over whether it should get other food as well. I like tortoises, they're very cute little guys.
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#5 Old 11-29-2007, 12:38 PM
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Live feeding for snakes isn't (IMO) at all humane, and is actually very dangerous for the snake in question if the prey is large enough to fight back. Rats have killed large snakes that have been left alone with them, and a single rat bite is enough to cause a nasty infection in many cases.



For snakes that tend to be difficult feeders there are things you can do (ball pythons for example). Firstly if you're going to buy a snake (which I'm also opposed to) only buy captive bred animals that are already eating pre-killed food. If the animal hasn't imprinted on live food yet then you don't have to teach it to accept pre-killed prey to begin with.



If they're imprinted on live prey one can try scenting the (pre-killed) rat/mouse w/ the snakes natural prey (gerbils, frog, etc.), leaving the snake alone in total darkness for 24 hours w/ the prey, dangling it w/ tongs, using freshly killed prey, etc.



If they still won't accept food then you do have the option of force feeding a snake, but it's very stressful for the snake. I personally would use this option before I live fed, I would see it as a battle I would have to fight sooner or later, and sooner is better to me. Try www.anapsid.org for more reputable reptile information.





I agree that many reptiles make totally unsuitable pets (see my avatar for a prime example). Iggy isn't abnormal in that his growth was stunted by improper care (he's about 2/3 normal size), he has burn scars over his body from improper environment, his kidneys are starting to fail rather young because his old owners used to feed him cat food, and he was dumped at animal control during breeding season because they weren't prepared to deal with an adult male iguana on a rampage. He is expensive, time consuming, and sometimes he's damn ungrateful.



That's pretty much the story with iguanas in captivity, yet they're still one of the most popular reptiles in the US (they're also the # 1 abandoned reptile in the US). Large constrictors, monitors, etc. have similar stories.



If people are going to keep/breed exotics there are a few species that I think are more appropriate (corn snakes, some species of gecko, a couple others) but I would prefer is people just stuck to rescue until the current population dies out.
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#6 Old 11-29-2007, 12:42 PM
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I was interested in reptiles last year, and was thinking of getting one, i think they are very interesting creatures... but as far as i understand non are vegetarian? I think, could be wrong of course. I'd feel awful even feeding a reptile insects, but that's just me.



Iguanas are total herbivores, there are a few other species that are as well (prehensile tailed skink is one) but I'm not familiar with any of the other herbivorous lizards.



Many tortoises are herbivores as well, but again I have only a passing familiarity with their care.



If you're interested in getting an iguana send me a PM!
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#7 Old 11-29-2007, 12:44 PM
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And the Green Iguana is usually cited as being herbivorous though I believe there is some debate over whether it should get other food as well.



That debate is totally outdated, iguanas that eat animal protein then to die from kidney failure sooner rather than later. On an appropriate all vegetable diet, in an appropriate environment they can live for 15-20+ years.
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#8 Old 11-29-2007, 01:06 PM
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Ah ha, i've been mis-informed then! I'll be honest, i totally forgot about tortoises, how could I?! Lol.



Oh i love iguanas, but really don't think i have to room to have one. Maybe one day. Sorry, bit off topic.
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#9 Old 11-29-2007, 01:06 PM
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Well this is something I've thought about a bit. In college, my roommie and I got a red eared slider for the dorm (Davinci). I initially bought a couple fish for the tank because I thought it would look nice, and the turtle ate them. Since then his diet has shifted to be mostly live fish. His shell looks wayyy better now that he eats the fish, I don't think the pellets contain enough calcium. I've tried to supplement his diet with veggies, but he won't eat them (yes I've tried not feeding him anything else until he gives in as recommended by my vet, but I caved after he didn't eat for 2 weeks and became listeless). He also eats insect occasionally.



In any case watching him "hunt" can be graphic and disturbing. I hope you don't think I'm a monster for this, but he and I are responsible for the death of as many as 20 fish a week. Why is Davinci's life more valuable than those fish? I'm not sure, but I can live with the fish dying, but my heart sinks when I imagine killing my turtle. The fish are not as trapped as other feeder animals might be, some learn to evade the turtle and live for quite awhile. They don't seem disturbed/scared or different from other fish, so as far as I know, until their deaths, they live comfortably in a very nice tank. His turtle food is made from fish anyway, so really the choice is just to kill directly or indirectly. I agree that he probably should not be a pet (he is a rescue), but he is not capable of being returned to the wild at this point, so I try to make his tank as close as possible to a natural environment. If he were wild, he would be eating fish anyway, the end result doesn't change, only my involvement.



One positive aspect of this practice is that it really shakes people up. Even people who think watching him eat will be "cool" normally get upset. Coming face to face with what it means to be a meat eater makes people question their beliefs, and a couple of my friends have temporarily cut back or quit eating meat afterwards.



I hope that is all clear, I don't think killing is "right" if there is another reasonable option, but in this case I don't feel that there is.
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#10 Old 11-30-2007, 05:37 AM
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Well this is something I've thought about a bit. In college, my roommie and I got a red eared slider for the dorm (Davinci). I initially bought a couple fish for the tank because I thought it would look nice, and the turtle ate them. Since then his diet has shifted to be mostly live fish. His shell looks wayyy better now that he eats the fish, I don't think the pellets contain enough calcium. I've tried to supplement his diet with veggies, but he won't eat them (yes I've tried not feeding him anything else until he gives in as recommended by my vet, but I caved after he didn't eat for 2 weeks and became listeless). He also eats insect occasionally.



In any case watching him "hunt" can be graphic and disturbing. I hope you don't think I'm a monster for this, but he and I are responsible for the death of as many as 20 fish a week. Why is Davinci's life more valuable than those fish? I'm not sure, but I can live with the fish dying, but my heart sinks when I imagine killing my turtle. The fish are not as trapped as other feeder animals might be, some learn to evade the turtle and live for quite awhile. They don't seem disturbed/scared or different from other fish, so as far as I know, until their deaths, they live comfortably in a very nice tank. His turtle food is made from fish anyway, so really the choice is just to kill directly or indirectly. I agree that he probably should not be a pet (he is a rescue), but he is not capable of being returned to the wild at this point, so I try to make his tank as close as possible to a natural environment. If he were wild, he would be eating fish anyway, the end result doesn't change, only my involvement.



One positive aspect of this practice is that it really shakes people up. Even people who think watching him eat will be "cool" normally get upset. Coming face to face with what it means to be a meat eater makes people question their beliefs, and a couple of my friends have temporarily cut back or quit eating meat afterwards.



I hope that is all clear, I don't think killing is "right" if there is another reasonable option, but in this case I don't feel that there is.



How in the heck does the turtle catch the fish? I just can't imagine it since when i think of fish they are fast and zippy and turtles move so slowly usually.
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#11 Old 11-30-2007, 08:46 AM
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How in the heck does the turtle catch the fish?



He's gotten pretty good at it. The fish could easily get away or hide if they were just a little smarter. That 30 second memory thing must also be a little bit true, because they see the turtle, dodge away, and then just sit there and wait for him to catch up. He use to just swim wildly after them, but now he sneaks up more, and normally chases 1 fish at a time (sucks to be the freak goldfish with a wierd marking or something). He really isn't that slow in water. If he's hungry, he's brutal, if he's not, he lets the fish be. Smaller fish are swallowed whole, while larger fish tend to come to a more tragic end. However a whole lot more small fish have to die to feed him than large fish.



It is also interesting that if a fish survives a certain amount of time, the turtle will no longer hunt that fish (ok maybe if he gets really hungry) There have been a couple fish who have lived a year or more, and the turtle will let them be. They swim around him and nibble on his skin and all get along just fine. This is rare, but interesting.
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#12 Old 11-30-2007, 09:09 AM
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Live feeding for snakes isn't (IMO) at all humane, and is actually very dangerous for the snake in question if the prey is large enough to fight back. Rats have killed large snakes that have been left alone with them, and a single rat bite is enough to cause a nasty infection in many cases.



For snakes that tend to be difficult feeders there are things you can do (ball pythons for example). Firstly if you're going to buy a snake (which I'm also opposed to) only buy captive bred animals that are already eating pre-killed food. If the animal hasn't imprinted on live food yet then you don't have to teach it to accept pre-killed prey to begin with.



If they're imprinted on live prey one can try scenting the (pre-killed) rat/mouse w/ the snakes natural prey (gerbils, frog, etc.), leaving the snake alone in total darkness for 24 hours w/ the prey, dangling it w/ tongs, using freshly killed prey, etc.



If they still won't accept food then you do have the option of force feeding a snake, but it's very stressful for the snake. I personally would use this option before I live fed, I would see it as a battle I would have to fight sooner or later, and sooner is better to me. Try www.anapsid.org for more reputable reptile information.





I agree that many reptiles make totally unsuitable pets (see my avatar for a prime example). Iggy isn't abnormal in that his growth was stunted by improper care (he's about 2/3 normal size), he has burn scars over his body from improper environment, his kidneys are starting to fail rather young because his old owners used to feed him cat food, and he was dumped at animal control during breeding season because they weren't prepared to deal with an adult male iguana on a rampage. He is expensive, time consuming, and sometimes he's damn ungrateful.



That's pretty much the story with iguanas in captivity, yet they're still one of the most popular reptiles in the US (they're also the # 1 abandoned reptile in the US). Large constrictors, monitors, etc. have similar stories.



If people are going to keep/breed exotics there are a few species that I think are more appropriate (corn snakes, some species of gecko, a couple others) but I would prefer is people just stuck to rescue until the current population dies out.



This pretty much sums up anything I was going to say and more.



I bought an albino corn snake, Adam, 12 years ago, back when I was naive about such things and was not vegan. Recently in September he was stolen from me in a home robbery, which was very sad. I'd raised him from a little wormy and was quite attached to him. Still, I don't plan on ever getting another reptile and I certainly won't miss thawing out those frozen mice and feeding them to him.
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#13 Old 11-30-2007, 10:37 AM
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I hope you don't think I'm a monster for this, but he and I are responsible for the death of as many as 20 fish a week. Why is Davinci's life more valuable than those fish? I'm not sure, but I can live with the fish dying, but my heart sinks when I imagine killing my turtle.

I hope that is all clear, I don't think killing is "right" if there is another reasonable option, but in this case I don't feel that there is.



Feeding a reptile (or any animal) an improper diet is killing them. You're doing it slowly, but thats what is happening. A RES's diet should be at least 50% plant material, neither "turtle food" or live fish make an appropriate dietary staple. Two weeks without eating is nothing for a reptile, you really need to get him on a better diet or he is going to get sick and die, there are no two ways about it.



Also, how do you have room for a RES tank in your dorm room? All the one's I've been in are tiny!
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#14 Old 11-30-2007, 11:40 AM
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i have a bearded dragon, miss otis (see picture). i had another one, oscar (RIP), and i tried feeding him pinkie mice two times. he wouldnt eat them and they just curled up next to him to stay warm. it was the saddest thing i ever saw, so i never did it again (aside from those two times). i dont recommend it.
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#15 Old 11-30-2007, 11:56 AM
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I have a house now and he has a large tank (50 gallons I think). He's now at least 10 years old (I've had him for 6) and he seems quite healthy to me. He's active, and his shell is beautiful. I have not given up entirely on him eating plants. I offer him different veggies all the time when he's hungry. I've read a lot about how to care for him, and there really are a lot of different opinions on what they should be fed (although you are correct that he should eat some veggies). My vet (who I drove a long way to see because she has experience with RES) said that if I can't get him to eat veggies, he should be fine as long as he gets a vitamin supplement and some variety in his diet, which he does. I'm a little resistent to change how I care for him, when he seems to be thriving (much improved from when I got him), but if you have tips or advice on caring for him, feel free to PM me.
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#16 Old 11-30-2007, 02:49 PM
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i got my corn snake from my cousin who got him from a neighbor. when my cuz got him he was on live rats and having rats for pets u can see how hard this was for my whole family. we tried what they recommend for switching over to prekilled: waving dead ones in front of them heating them up even i even tried cutting the head of a dead rat open (OMG HURL!). the snake wouldn't budge. well turns out 14yr old boys dont always make the best pet owners and he would forget to close the cage and the snake would escape in house filled with cats mind you. so 3 weeks after an escape my cousin gave up on finding the snake and put the cage in his closet. my aunt went in the closet for something and found the snake curled up on top of his cage. we gave him water he drank and drank it was so pitiful. we then tried a prekilled mouse which he snatched up instantly. then my aunt said go give him back now but i took him instead. well i named him crimson and hes been on prekilled mice ever since and dont tell Dutchess (the little sweetheart on my avatar) this but hes the best pet i ever had. he eats once a week, messes once a week, makes no noise, and is sweet. but i do disagree in keeping reptiles as pets sometimes i look at him and think what a sad life he belongs in the wild climbing trees and roaming free. but hes domesticated now. i dont think i'd ever buy a snake.
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#17 Old 11-30-2007, 10:38 PM
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I don't think reptiles should be kept as pets period.
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#18 Old 11-30-2007, 11:00 PM
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I don't think reptiles should be kept as pets period.



Agreed. Wildlife belongs in the wild. (Unless injured or orphaned).
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#19 Old 12-01-2007, 02:39 AM
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I was interested in reptiles last year, and was thinking of getting one, i think they are very interesting creatures... but as far as i understand non are vegetarian? I think, could be wrong of course.



There are a few herbivorous herps out there. Tortoises are a good example. Our little sweetie Ojai, a red-footed tortoise, lives entirely on corn, green beans, and peas. We also have two flame-crested geckos. They can live entirely on fruit, although they do enjoy the occasional cricket treat. Unlike other gecko species, however, they do not require live food.
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#20 Old 12-01-2007, 05:36 AM
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I don't think reptiles should be kept as pets period.



I'm curious as to what you think we should do with all the reptiles currently in captivity, especially those in shelters waiting to get homes?
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#21 Old 12-01-2007, 01:29 PM
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Give 'em all to Bindi for playmates.
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#22 Old 12-02-2007, 03:42 PM
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I'm curious as to what you think we should do with all the reptiles currently in captivity, especially those in shelters waiting to get homes?



I don't know what Mrrple has in mind, but I think, if possible, they should be released back into the wild with their own kind. If not, then they should live out their lives in captivity (without breeding).

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#23 Old 12-02-2007, 04:33 PM
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I don't know what Mrrple has in mind, but I think, if possible, they should be released back into the wild with their own kind.



There are a lot of problems with that idea. Captive specimens generally lack the muscle tone and skills to compete with their wild relatives, so releasing them results in slow starvation, or something eating them. They also can bring a lot of non-native micro-organisms back to their natural habitats which could kill the animals already living there. This is especially true of animals that have been bred out of their natural range for many generations.



Most species of reptiles imprint on certain foods and are resistant to changes in that food. Animals like iguanas live in groups and learn what to eat as hatchlings. Most reptiles in captivity have never eaten the foods they would eat in the wild. Even snakes that eat mice in the wild often don't know what to do with wild, brown mice, since they're used to eating the albinos.



There is also a big problem with space, in most cases the area the animals come from is already over populated due to habitat loss, so adding more animals, especially those that probably wouldn't survive isn't a good idea.



Animals in captivity have been bred for very different qualities than those needed to survive in nature (most prolific, color morphs, etc) so introducing them into the wild gene pool can have negative consiquences. Most captive animals should have never survived to adulthood. Even the green iguana, which has less than a 1 in 10 chance of making it to 1 yo in captivity has a lower survival rate in the wild.



It is possible to release animals back into the wild successfully but it costs thousands per animal and it's really only a good idea for animals that are endangered/threatened in the area. The risk of ruining already healthy wild populations is too high just to get a few individuals out of captivity.





I certainly don't disagree with the idea that reptiles shouldn't be bred, but it annoys me to no end when people tell me reptiles shouldn't be kept "period" when there are (imo) valid reasons to keep them, such as the rescue of homeless animals. People rarely say that cats and dogs shouldn't be kept "period", most who disagree with breeding more want as many as possible to be rescued from shelters.



I've caught a lot of slack over the years I've had Iggy, yet I've never had anyone say anything to me about my cats.
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#24 Old 12-02-2007, 05:17 PM
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There are a lot of problems with that idea.



Yeah I'm aware that there are a variety of problems, that's why I said, "if possible."



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I certainly don't disagree with the idea that reptiles shouldn't be bred, but it annoys me to no end when people tell me reptiles shouldn't be kept "period"



Yeah, well, I don't think people should own animals. It really annoys me when people feel animals need to be 'kept'.



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when there are (imo) valid reasons to keep them, such as the rescue of homeless animals.



I can't see a valid reason to 'keep' an animal. I do see a rehabilitation situation for animals, but that's about it.



The animals wouldn't be homeless if we don't breed them in the first place.



ETA: Or take them from their homes.



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People rarely say that cats and dogs shouldn't be kept "period", most who disagree with breeding more want as many as possible to be rescued from shelters.



I don't think cats and dogs should really be 'kept' either.

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#25 Old 12-02-2007, 06:16 PM
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You said in your last post :



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If not, then they should live out their lives in captivity (without breeding).



Where are they living if people aren't keeping them? I don't agree with breeding or catching any animal to keep in captivity, but once they're here I feel they do need to be "kept" unless it's viable to release them, which in many/most cases it's not.



I'm not sure where your disagreement is with me, I don't want additional animals bred to be kept as pets, I want the current population to be allowed to live their natural life spans in captivity (which, afaik requires people keep them).
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#26 Old 12-02-2007, 06:31 PM
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Where are they living if people aren't keeping them?



By keeping them, I am referring to the desire for people to go out and capture animals and breed them so they can have them as 'pets.' I would also assume (although, I by no means can speak for anyone else), that other people feel the same. I doubt anyone is suggesting an instant killing of all animals in captivity, or to just ignore what will happen to those that are currently breed and cannot be released. Perhaps I am wrong though, and if so those people should speak up.



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I don't agree with breeding or catching any animal to keep in captivity, but once they're here I feel they do need to be "kept" unless it's viable to release them, which in many/most cases it's not.



Well, then I guess for the most part we're in agreement.



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I'm not sure where your disagreement is with me,



Well, you quoted what I wrote, and then wrote that "There are a lot of problems with that idea." Then you proceeded to detail many problems which didn't really do anything to say that what I said had problems. It did relate though, in that there are problems with reintroducing creatures.



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I don't want additional animals bred to be kept as pets, I want the current population to be allowed to live their natural life spans in captivity (which, afaik requires people keep them).



Perhaps there are some assumptions then. By saying that people should not keep pets (or reptiles, etc) that's not saying that all in captivity should either a) be released, b) be killed, or c) ignored. One can say people should not have pets at all, but for those in current existence should be allowed to live out their lives (with a big asterisk of "No more breeding and no more taking from the wild").



This is similar to those who would like to see an end to using animals as a source of food. A typical response from someone who disagrees seems to be "Well what do you do with all the cows, chickens, pigs, etc." My response is the same "Return any to the wild that can be, and let the rest live out their lives without breeding."

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#27 Old 12-03-2007, 07:53 AM
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When I was in FL, I saw a stand selling the little red eared sliders. The little guys were maybe an inch, some smaller. They were being sold in tiny little fish tanks with no accessories or educational materials. Just some turtle pellets. They kept a few stocked for show. And the rest were in big boxes packed with hundreds more little turtles. A good amount were dead and the guys had a trash can full of the ones that didn't make it. It was very sad. I asked the seller how he could be ok with what he was doing. He shrugged and said they were "just turtles".



Anyway I agree that reptiles (or any other animal) should not be bred or removed from the wild. It's normally not difficult to find a rescue, either online, or sometimes pet stores will direct you.
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#28 Old 12-03-2007, 05:49 PM
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I asked the seller how he could be ok with what he was doing. He shrugged and said they were "just turtles".



Right now my wife and I are having some serious financial difficulties which are going to take about two months to resolve. We dont even have enough money right now to heat the entire house. So the reptiles get the heatnot us. Were bundling up. We dont make defenseless animals suffer for our convenience. Our turtle is not just a turtleshes a member of the family. I would have shoved that guys head in the trash can and let him spend a couple of minutes observing his handiwork up close.
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#29 Old 12-03-2007, 05:55 PM
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I would like to kick that guys ass, personally.



Just as an FYI, it's illegal to sell a turtle with a shell diameter of less than 4" inches in every state of the US, so anyone selling baby RES can have the health dept. called on them and be shut down. I've called on a place in Myrtle Beach before.
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#30 Old 12-06-2007, 08:12 AM
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I don't know what Mrrple has in mind, but I think, if possible, they should be released back into the wild with their own kind. If not, then they should live out their lives in captivity (without breeding).



i cant release my little girl into the wild. she would never survive.
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