Marion L. Janusz Certified Reptile Specialist .
739 Borden Rd. Cheektowaga,
NEW YORK 14227
Because RARE cannot afford to return out of town calls, please email
your request, and we will be happy to
respond to you promptly. We check our email at least twice a day. .
Reptile Adoption, Rehabilitation, and Education
Have a Herp that needs Help? Call or write us!!!
Whether it's a.....
*snake in your basement
*your turtle won't eat
*a lizard that's gotten too large
*or any reptile in a problem situation!!!
R.A.R.E. is a New York State registered animal shelter/rehab center under the direct supervision of a
qualified reptile veterinarian and a local wildlife rehabilitator/certified reptile specialist. Here abused, sick/injured, abandoned reptiles and amphibians are given the best supportive care possible until they can be adopted out to pre-approved homes. R.A.R.E. is recognized by the I.R.S. as a tax-exempt 501c3 charitable organization, and is proud to be Western New York's leading reptile organization, and operate the area's only exclusive reptile care facility.
Over the last twelve years of our operation, R.A.R.E. has found homes for hundreds of reptiles/amphibians
nationwide. We have helped many people with the proper care of these animals through our educational programs
locally, as well as through our national HERP HOTLINE at (716) 656-7273. We may also be contacted via e-mail by clicking here
This shelter receives no financial support from any town, county, state or federal government grants.
To raise monies needed for the housing, feeding, and medical care of these animals, besides membership fees
and donations, R.A.R.E. holds summer fund-raisers, offers educational programs to local schools, organizations and veterinary hospitals.
In March 2002, after 5 years of taking in surrendered reptile pets and finding homes for them., it was obvious that R.A.R.E. in Western New York was here to stay. But, we needed to come up with a logo that would define what our work is about. R.A.R.E. member and Sanborn High School art teacher, Mary Lou Miskey, had her high school art class design a RARE logo as a class assignment. Many students sent in their ideas and they were all great and very hard to chose from. At our annual meeting we set out all the design ideas and had the members vote on their favorites. Well, we had a winner!!
The winning logo was designed by 11th grader, Timothy Schely of Wheatfield, as you see it is the stylized head of an iguana, which we especially liked because the iguana is the #1 most surrendered reptile pet in the US today. Timothy Schely of Wheatfield received the top prize and now that he has graduated and moved on in his life, I know he will be happy to see his design used on all RARE correspondence.
If you're curious to know R.A.R.E.'s top five surrendered reptile pets, they are:
#1. Green Iguana
#2. Red Earred Sliders
#3. Ball Pythons
#4. Sulcata tortoises
#5. Boa Constrictors
History of R.A.R.E.
In the late 90's , reptiles started to really become popular as "alternative" pets. They were quiet, allergy-free, ate less and less often and you didn't have to remember to take them for walks. They needed a lot less time and attention (although they did have special needs) than the average dog or cat. Unfortunately with these attributes many perished due to the lack of education available to the average owner on their care.
Marion L. Janusz, ( with over 20 years of working with animals in vet clinics, zoos, riding stables and training facilities and a newly licensed NYS wildlife rehabilitator) had a special affinity for the reptiles and when told to specialize by her vet, she became the first and only exclusively reptile and amphibian rehabilitator in the state. She was known as the Turtle Lady or Snake Lady in her neighborhood and people referred to her many a lawn mower accident . People brought to her every injured turtle, snake and weed-wacked frog and she did her best to save and release them. Then a new reptile was brought to her - an iguana! She had never seen nor worked with exotics and had no idea how to deal with this problem.
As more exotics were brought to her, she decided to learn more about caring for these pets. She attended many out of town veterinary classes on exotic medicine. She poured over countless reptile care and maintenance books and even set up aquariums in her 850 sq. ft basement to rehab them. A infirmary and office was set up as well. When the word got out that she had exotic reptiles, people came asking to adopt them. And so the idea for R.A.R.E. was born. In 1996, Reptile Adoption, Rehabilitation and Education, Inc. was formed and with only 12 initial members who believed in
her vision, Marion was appointed the chief, cook and bottle washer of the organization. Unfortunately there was no money to pay anyone to care for these animals, so since its inception, Marion has not received a penny to do all that she does for the past 12 yrs. She works as a dog grooming to support herself. A bi-monthly newsletter and membership fees were charged to help with the overwhelming cost of such a venture.
Grants were written and sent out but to no avail. It seems no one cared about reptiles as pets and didn't think it a worthy cause. After many more animals were surrendered, Marion saw the need for larger facilities and in 2003 bought a larger house to hold the over 100 animals now in her care. The new building was better because it now not only had room for over 85+ cages, it had a 4 car garage with loft for storage, plus room in the house for offices/library and meeting rooms. With members help, (now totally over 150 ) and the fact that Marion took on additional night jobs to help with the costs of fixing up the 100yr old house, the new RARE center was shaping up. New cages were bought with a grant from PetsMart Charities. Members pitched in to tear out old walls and rebuild the kitchen and fully stocked infirmary. RARE Members donated their time, money and sweat to building up the turtle enclosures in the spacious yard, moving in and setting up cages and helping with fundraisers and outreach programs to spread the work of RARE.
The year 2006 marked the tenth anniversary of R.A.R.E. and everyone was elated. We had all worked so hard to reach this milestone. R.A.R.E. was finally recognized as a first class organization for helping reptiles/amphibians and their owners. R.A.R.E.' s reputation had spread worldwide and although the monetary grants were still being refused, members were finally feeling relief from the pressure of having to prove their dedication to this organization. On March 8th, 2006, RARE's world came tumbling down, during a early evening fire caused by old wiring in the walls, 40 out of 75 animals were lost. Could RARE survive this?
Not wanting to admit defeat, RARE members again rallied to come together and get the surviving animals moved to a temporary storefront until the RARE Bldg could be restored. Thirty five of the surviving animals were set up at the storefront, where we are today and we have added an additional 65 animals to date. So, once again, RARE is back in the business of rescuing, rehabbing and adopting reptiles . We will keep you updated on RARE' s future progress.
After a long year in the French Rd. Storefront, on March 31, 2006, RARE finally moved all enclosures and animals into their newly totally rebuilt home.
It's been a year now that we have been back in our new home, and we are happy to report that adoptions are up and because of our educational information on proper pet care and maintenance, surrenders are down.
If you have a question of reptile/amphibian care and/or maintenance, please feel free to call us at (716) 656-7273.