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Posted by edmund on April 26, 2003 at 11:00:25:
Tell me if it's just me...
The other day a friend of mine came over to see my tortoise collection. Now this guy has never kept a tortoise -lots of snakes and monitors but never a tortoise. We walked into the tortoise room, he spotted one of my female star breeders and exclaimed, "This is WAY cool!" and proceeded to pick her up, turn her upside down, rightside up, this way, that way. and then held her upside down so he could see her plastron. I gently took her from her and said' "They don't like to be held like that" and put her back in her pen. Then he spotted another female and proceeded to do the same thing. So I took her away the same way and explained tortoise physiology and how their breathing is compromised when they're upside down and blah blah blah, really just hoping that he'd get the hint and not do it again. As I was checking the last female he manhandled I noticed he was heading towards another pen: I stopped him just before he reached in and said I always sterilized my hands with Purell before touching animals that were in different enclosures. He said, "You don't need to do that", but fortunately I stopped him dead with a very loud "YES, YOU DO!" and handed him the bottle. I'll spare you the details of the rest of the visit but by the end of it my blood pressure was off the scale and I'm sure he thought i was just being ridiculous.
As a matter of course, I would never presume to handle someone's animals without their express consent, certainly wouldn't perform gymnastistics with them, nor would I go from enclosure to enclosure without first washing (or sterilizing) my hands. This just makes common sense to me. Are 'snake people' more cavalier in their approach to their animals or was this guy just sloppy? Or have I just gotten too anal in my old age?