Chilliwack Reptile Hall owner asks people to keep wild animals in the wild – Chilliwack Progress
If you’ve ever seen a turtle or a rabbit in the wild and thought to yourself, “It must be a lost pet. I’ll save him, ”Amber Quiring thanks you for being a kind and caring person.
But please don’t.
The owner of the Chilliwack Reptile Room said there are far too many people bringing them animals that should be left where they are.
“The most common, by far, are red-eared sliders (turtles),” Amber Quiring said. “Because they’re so abundant in our area, people find one in a parking lot or in their backyard and bring it back to us because they think it’s someone’s pet.”
Alligator lizards are another that Quiring sees often.
“They are found everywhere, up to Mount Chilliwack and along the Fraser and Vedder rivers,” she said. “The people who think they’re helping catch these lizards, they bring them inside and they come here and ask me what they need to feed them.”
“They see an alligator lizard in the fall and they wonder why it just sits there doing nothing. Well, almost all reptiles are ectothermic, which means they move slowly in cooler temperatures. So this lizard is just chilling out there because it’s cold, getting ready to hibernate.
The third is the rabbits. Wild rabbits are everywhere in Chilliwack.
“People see a bunch of little baby rabbits running around in their backyard, and they pick them up thinking they’re saving them,” Quiring said. “But what usually happens is that these rabbits have just left the nest for the first time and no one knew a nest was there. We probably get about 10 to 12 litters each season.
Once a baby rabbit is removed from its home, its chances of survival decrease dramatically. Even if he is brought back where he came from, he will not be welcome.
“If we touch them, most of the time their mother won’t want to care for them anymore because she feels the threat on them,” Quiring said. “She will ignore them and they will either prosper or die.”
Bringing a wild animal into a home with existing pets can also be a bad idea, especially with lizards.
“In their natural habitat, they have natural immunity to things like E. coli and anything they might pick up from rocks and streams,” Quiring said. “You bring this animal into your house and you touch it and you bring your bearded dragon to see if they can be friends. Well, now you’ve just introduced E. coli or something into your bearded dragon’s immune system and he’s not immune to bad bacteria and that sort of thing.
“It may take you too long to notice that something is wrong and this animal may die.” “
That said, Quiring has a very simple rule of thumb for deciding whether to “save” an animal.
“Animals that you find in the wild should be left in the wild unless they are very clearly someone’s pet.