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. .
R.A.R.E. receives highest veterinary award, April 1, 2010!!
Outstanding Service To Animals in Western New York Presented to Marion L. Janusz Certified Reptile Specialist in recognition of your many years of ongoing service and dedication to the Western New York Veterinary Medical Association and the Veterinary Profession. 2010
Thanks From R.A.R.E.
Thank you to those stores that continue to display RARE Donation Jars. You don’t realize how much these jars help us feed our resident animals.
Markheim Pets– Sheridan Dr Amherst, NY
Just Pets- Irving , N.Y.
Did You Know?
The best food source (for people and reptiles) is probably growing right in your own yard? It turns out that the greens from those dandelions dotting your lawn are higher in beta-carotene than carrots, greater in iron and calcium content than spinach, and provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Agribusiness-type farming practices depletes the nutrition in our food, but dandelions are a wonderful, wild and FREE antidote! Not only healthy for you but your veggie eating reptiles too!
(eg: iguanas, uromastyx, beardies, tortoises, etc.) So don’t get out the sprays, get out your shovel and start hauling in great nutrition today!!
(This column was first published in the January 28, 2002 Buffalo News.)
The unmarked package came in the mail addressed to a high school student. His mother intercepted it and asked her son what it contained. After some hesitation the young man admitted that he had purchased two snakes by money order from a Florida reptile dealer.
Questioned further — we can easily imagine the intense grilling — the young man admitted that the snakes were, well yes, poisonous. But, he assured his mother, he had been told that the venom was inconsequential and that he didn't have to worry about being bitten. No thanks, his mother told him. I won't have those snakes in our house.
To seek help the mother turned to Marion Janusz, director of RARE, that acronym representing Reptile Adoption, Rehabilitation and Education, Inc.
A perfect choice. Mrs. Janusz is a remarkable woman, arguably our finest regional animal rehabilitator, and that is saying a great deal in her favor for every one of our local rehabbers is admirable. She works with reptiles — not just snakes but lizards and turtles as well — a very difficult specialty. Can you imagine nursing a sick gila monster?
Reluctantly, Mrs. Janusz accepted the unmarked box and carefully opened it. Inside she found two taped deli cups packed with crumpled paper and hot packs. The young snakes in them were identified as a rough-scaled bush viper and a Pope's green tree viper, the first African, the second Asian species. Both are pit vipers like our rattlesnakes, the pit a heat-sensing orifice between the snake's eye and nostril.
Mrs. Janusz immediately contacted Kevin Murphy at the Buffalo Zoo. Kevin informed her that the zoo could not accept the snakes because no antivenin is available locally. She is now trying the Rochester Zoo but, failing there, she will euthanize the snakes.
Why should they be killed? Few people have the training and equipment necessary to handle poisonous reptiles. Kevin tells me that only after months of training are their zookeepers allowed to work with their dangerous snakes.
And what if someone is bitten? Can we take a chance that this snake's venom is non-lethal? Certainly not when a life is at stake. A national check would be necessary to see who has the antivenin for this species — if indeed it is available at all. And at great expense it would have to be shipped in.
Not only that, but antivenin supplies are already low. When a local man was bitten by his Gaboon viper last year, the 20 vials of antivenin that saved his life severely reduced the supply at the Bronx Zoo. And the cost of rapidly delivering the antidote is always substantial.
The bottom line: we should not take chances with snakes like these in our community. Unless she finds an appropriate home for them, Mrs. Janusz is right in euthanizing them.
Why do we have this problem? Herpetologist Harry Greene calls it "a matter of testosterone tyranny, because young men disregard or do not appreciate the inherent hazards of handling venomous snakes." Admittedly as a youngster I too would have wanted a poisonous snake if one had been available. Yet Kevin Murphy characterizes snakes as remarkable escape artists and even my caged garter snakes escaped. My neighborhood would have been a dangerous place indeed.
I urge amateurs not to keep venomous reptiles. There are many better choices in the pet world including, yes, non-poisonous snakes.
Too many of us already hate snakes so I have not included here stories about the possible terrible effects of snakebite venom. I have, however, collected a number of these episodes and will make them available on request. (To see these stories, click here.)-- Gerry Rising