GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Be a hero, release zero: How to surrender an exotic pet

From the Local 5 Digital Desk

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – When you hear of an animal rescue, most of us think of dogs and furry kittens. But J & R Aquatic Animal Rescue is here to help our reptilian friends stay safe.

While they certainly will help you surrender any type of animal, it’s reptiles and aquatic animals that are often left outside when a family can no longer care for them.

Your child won a goldfish at a carnival and can no longer take care of it? Should you let it loose in a lake or pond?

Owner, John Moyles says while it may survive, there are other consequences. “Some animals can cause other problems by becoming an invasive species by outcompeting native animals and pushing them out of their territory.”

Goldfish can survive but they produce in great, great numbers. Letting a fish like this loose also interferes with the ecosystem as they eat fish eggs. The baby fish will eat plankton that other fish need to eat and with the reproduction numbers being so high, eventually there won’t be enough food for the other types of fish.

John says even in our Northern Lakes, Goldfish can, not only survive but can be almost impossible to get rid of, eventually killing off all the other species.

What about other exotic animals? If you let them outside during the summer, they may survive if they’re lucky enough to avoid other animals like hawks, foxes, neighborhood cats, and dogs. And other dangers like cars. The winter would be unlivable for them.

Most of the exotic pets are from warm climates like Australia or West Africa. To be left outside in a Wisconsin winter month is detrimental.

The decision to adopt an exotic animal is a big commitment. Some snakes live 15-20 years, turtles up to 100 years.

So, what do you do if your parents left you a turtle and you just don’t have the facilities to care for it properly?

Enter the Exotic Pet Surrender Event.

It’s a no questions asked place for anyone to come and surrender any pet they can no longer care for, particularly exotic/aquatic animals. Nine organizations will be on hand to take in any animals.

Their motto? “Be a hero, release zero”.

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