Updated April 12, 2022
As we near Christmas we thought it would be good time to put out a reminder of the do's and don't of giving pets as gifts.
all on board? Will all guardians/parents approve of the purchase? We have seen situations where one parent purchases a reptile for a child, but the other parent/stepparent/ex may not approve, or may fear the animal. This may have the reptile being neglected half the time or shuttled back and forth between homes. The other parent may even harm, or re-home the animal.
responsibility If the gift is for a child, be aware that even the most responsible of children will need the parent/guardian to step in from time to time to make sure the animal's enclosure is cleaned, the animal is up-to-date medically, and has been regularly fed. If the parent/guardian is not comfortable with doing any of these tasks, then we would advise against purchasing the animal.
boredom will the novelty of the gift wear off? This can happen with anyone but especially with kids or young adults. Sadly all too often the animal suffers. What could be a teaching moment about responsibility, often turns into re-homing the animal, trading it for another, neglecting until death occurs, or releasing a no longer wanted pet into the wild.
Not only is releasing an animal into the wild illegal, but it also gives the community a bad reputation - which encourages lawmakers to instil bans. Furthermore, released pets never do well in the wild. They may share parasites and illnesses with native species which can affect whole ecosystems, they likely will starve, and not be able to withstand the temperature changes or seasons. Many released pets that have been found have to be euthanized, so never release your pet. There are always better options.
*tip We highly suggest for folks with kids looking to take on the responsibility of a pet to first have the child prove they can, and will care for it properly long-term, and that it is not a "whim want." It is a good idea to go over all of the care information on our website together on more than one occasion so everyone knows what all to expect, and to better gauge, if this is the right animal, for the right home, at the right time.
research By research we do not mean You Tube, or TikToks vids. This might sound harsh but most of the people who come to us saying they have done their "research" end up telling us about the wrong and often dangerous information they have picked up from popular pet YouTubers and TikTokers!
A lot of people don't realize that many popular "Pet YouTubers and TikTokers," don't spend a lot of time carefully learning and researching information about each species they talk about. Many source their information off on quick google searches, and then amp up the drama for likes and reactions. Once the hype dies down they are onto the next thing and won't be there for you when your pet becomes ill. We continuously are left to clean up after these types all we can do is fight back with proper care information.
Because there is so much misinformation out there, we require our clients to follow our care guides, and to home the animals per our standards. This not only ensures that your pets will be homed and cared for correctly but also minimizes the stress of the animal as they arrive at their new home due to it being as similar as possible to their old one. (Which is particularly important for Western Hognoses!)
We want our babies happy and healthy and for our clients to have the best success and experience possible. For this reason, we strongly urge that both the purchaser of the 'gift' and the person receiving the animal read all of our care information so they are on the same page. If for some reason the giftee fails to stay caring for the animal, at least the purchaser will then have the full knowledge on how to step up to care for the animal.
vet care All pets have expensive medical needs - should they arrise. More so, exotics such as reptiles as they require special treatment and ideally should be treated by a vet who specializes, or at least, understands them. Folks often overlook the cost of vet care when acquiring a pet, or giving one. Please consider that taking on or gifting a pet also includes financial responsibility that may be a burden on someone who cannot afford or access it.
conclusion It might sound like it but as a whole, we are not at all against folks getting pets as gifts - Heck I grew up being gifted pets often, it worked out because I was, and still am, invested in doing the best for the animals. So long as the pets best interest is at the forefront, the people involved are fully educated on the species' long-term care, and understand the options if caring for that animal is no longer an option, then go for it and enjoy!