Thursday, July 1, 2010

HAWS -- Not Just For Mammals!

Many times people are amazed to find out that we get animals other than dogs and cats, and are even more suprised to find out that we'll take reptiles. HAWS can go months and months without seeing any reptiles come through our doors. That was the case until recently.

Currently we have several turtles of the species Red Eared Slider, two Bearded Dragons, and an albino Corn Snake.

The kids from HAWS Kids 'N Critters Day Camp especially loved meeting the Bearded Dragons. Their reactions ranged from "cool!" -- to "they're weird looking". Most of the kids wanted to hold them, although some of the kids were a bit unsure about it once their turn came.

Bearded Dragons get their name because if threatened the expand the area under their chin - puffing their necks out to look bigger and more threatening themselves. The two we currently have are used to being handled, and so didn't feel the need to threaten any of us -- my research found that Beardies are one of the easiest lizards to keep as pets because of their tolerance for handling.

Getting unusual animals in at HAWS gives me an opportunity to educate kids about animals they most likely aren't familiar with. The more knowledge they have about the natural habitat of exotic animals and what kind of requirements there are for proper care, the better choices we hope kids will make in the future. If we can get them in the habit of asking questions about animals and instill a desire to learn about them, it might cause them to research prospective pets before their bring them home.

Good pet ownership starts wtih making appropriate choices. HAWS hopes that through our education programs we're planting that seed with the youth of Waukesha County.

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