0-99 FAQ about Arrowhead Reptile Rescue
100-199 FAQ about native Ohio wildlife
200-299 FAQ about pet reptiles and general reptile
Why can't I find an address or
location on your web page?
We operate out of foster homes, and for the privacy and
protection of our volunteers and their families we do
not publish their home addresses. Our foster homes
are not open to the public and we schedule visits for
rescue business by appointment only. We also
don't give out this information because we would have
six iguanas at our door every morning. Feel free
to email us if you need a mailing address.
I live hours away from Cincinnati. Will someone
meet me halfway or pick up my pet reptile?
Sorry, if we did this for all those who request it we
would spend all of our time driving. We can't ask
our volunteers to spend their time and money picking up
other people's unwanted pets.
Why do you ask for an intake donation? What if I
can't afford to give a donation?
Providing quality food, medical care, heat and habitats
for reptiles is expensive. We operate on donations
alone and it is how we can survive and continue to
provide care for reptiles in need. Responsible owners should
provide something to care for their pet so we ask for a
donation to help provide that care. We can and
will waive those donations on a case-by-case basis if
you truly cannot afford to give anything.
What is an appropriate donation for my pet reptile?
That's up to you. Whatever you can afford is
appreciated. You know how much it costs to feed
and care for your animal. A donation should fit
accordingly to provide care for at least a couple of
months. Some give the minimum amount, others
donate $100 or more. Your generosity is
appreciated, helps reptiles in need, and is tax
I want my pet to go to a zoo. Can you get my
reptile in a zoo?
We do better than that. While we do place some
reptiles in zoos and for display, the zoos have to be
looking for that particular species of animal.
They don't just take anything and don't have extra open
cages sitting around for unwanted pets. Most often
the placement we find for your pet reptile will give
more space, one-on-one interaction, personalized care,
and be a more active and fulfilling home than a zoo can
I need help finding a new home for my pet reptile, but I
don't want them to go just anywhere. Will you
point me to some good homes?
Sorry, we don't provide owner assistance for relocating
unwanted pets. You will have to bring your reptile
to us and we will find a great home.
I need to sell my pet reptile. Will you buy my pet
or help me find someone who will?
No. We don't buy reptiles and we don't offer
consignment services or sales assistance.
Why don't you take unwanted pet iguanas? It's a
reptile. What's up with that?
We simply cannot handle or accommodate all the unwanted
iguanas out there. Last time we were accepting
them we were up to 36 at one time. We don't have
the resources or time to take the majority of these
lizards and care for them. They are very hard to
place and sit here for a long time. They are
tedious to keep, feed, clean and need all of the above
often. And there are just so darned many of
Q #9: Why
don't you take unwanted pond sliders? It's a
reptile. What's up with that?
eared pond sliders and yellow bellied pond sliders can grow to over 15 inches in shell
size and require a large pond habitat (aquariums are not
sufficient). This makes them hard to place. They live
over 70 years. They require large ponds and we cannot
overcrowd ours to take in the extremely large number of
unwanted turtles out there. Think again before
purchasing that cute little turtle for a child as a pet,
or as a souvenir from a beach vendor on vacation, or
because of a children's movie.
Do you take other animals besides reptiles? What
about mammals, spiders, insects, or fish?
We take reptiles and amphibians. Sometimes
we have volunteers who are willing to take pet
tarantulas, scorpions, hermit crabs, and other
invertebrates. Never hurts to ask but as a rule
herptiles only. We cannot take fish... our
reptiles will eat them. We do not take or
accept wild birds or mammals, only wild reptiles and
amphibians and only from Ohio.
I want to know where my reptile goes. Will you
give me the new owner’s info or the name of the
institution or sanctuary where placed or adopted?
If the new
owners wish and allow us to give out their information
we will do so. We don't disclose all the
organizations we work with, such as which alligator
sanctuaries we took particular alligators to, because
they do not want to spend their time talking with former
pet owners about their surrendered pet. Most of
the animals these sanctuaries receive are former pets.
They want to care for these animals, not spend their
time talking on the phone to ex-owners or giving tours
and trying to find a specific pet. If we do give
you this information upon request, please do not harass
I picked up a turtle hit by a car in northern Kentucky
and can't find a KY wildlife rehabilitator. Can
you take an injured reptile I found in another state?
No. Ohio does not allow wildlife to be
brought in from other states. We can only
rehabilitate wild reptiles and amphibians from Ohio.
Contact your state department of wildlife to find a
rehabilitator in your state. We have volunteers in
the process of obtaining wildlife rehab permits in those
states and will be able to help those injured wild
reptiles in the future.
Can we tour your facilities and see your animals?
The Division of Wildlife does not allow us to give tours
as we have sick and injured wildlife in rehabilitation.
We do outside events and presentations and would be
happy to bring some of our reptiles to you. Our
foster homes are not open to the public and we schedule
visits for rescue business by appointment only. We
are working on a obtaining a public facility and after
that anyone is welcome to come visit us. If you
are bringing in your pet, you will get to see our
rescued reptiles in foster care and their setups that we
have at the time of your intake appointment at the
location we send you to. If you choose not to
leave your pet after you meet us, you are under no
obligation to do so. Multiple visits are not
Will you turn me in to the authorities if I bring a
reptile to you I shouldn't have?
We are not law enforcement and our goal is to help the
reptile. We will not turn you in or report you to
anyone for surrendering an animal. Ohio law
requires us to keep records of all intakes, and Ohio law
requires we allow Ohio agencies access to those records
upon request. Please provide correct and accurate
Can you give me legal advice about my pet reptile or
interpret the law as it applies to me?
We are not attorneys and cannot offer legal advice or
legal interpretations. We can quote, point you
show you what the law says word-for-word but it is up to
you or your attorney to determine what it means for you
and your pet.
Are you able to take my venomous snake or dangerous
We are experienced, permitted, and equipped to take
large and dangerous reptiles such as venomous snakes,
crocodilians, and giant constrictors. We still
take in restricted snakes, but we no longer accept
alligators and crocodiles due to Ohio's Exotic Animal
Ban. Contact us
to see if we have space for your pet reptile.
My pet is sick. Can I bring it to you for care and
have it returned to me later?
No. We don't provide medical or veterinary care
for your personal pet. We can take your sick
reptile and we will be happy to provide the necessary
care and find a new home. If you prefer to keep
your pet, we recommend seeking professional veterinary
care for your sick reptile. We can help point you
to an exotic veterinarian if you need a reference.
Can you tell me why my adoption application was denied?
It wasn't denied. We just don't think you are quite
ready yet. Contact us and we will be happy to discuss
your application with you. As a rule you will probably
have already heard from us with recommendations to
improve your ability to care for the reptile you want.
We prefer to work with new owners and educate about what
you need and help you do it right.
Will my pet be housed in the same cage with other
Usually not. We prefer to house all reptiles in
separate enclosures to reduce the risk of disease
transmission, reduce injuries from cagemates, and give
each reptile some space and time to settle in and feel
comfortable while under our care. Exceptions
include pets that were already previously housed
together with the former owner (if appropriate), species
that do better in groups, and our communal ponds for
turtles and crocodilians.
Can I visit my pet after I give it to you?
We would love to have all the previous owners come
visit, socialize with, and even provide some care for
their former pets. However, this is not practical given
that we operate out of foster homes. Once we have a
facility open to the public we will be happy to
accommodate that request in a reasonable manner.
Does Arrowhead have any paid employees?
We are a 100% volunteer organization and do not have any
Why did Arrowhead stop accepting alligators and
After dumping dozens of
alligators to Arrowhead Reptile Rescue over the past
year or so, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is taking
the over-reaching position that our exemption to the new
Ohio Exotic Animal Ban as wildlife rehabilitators does
not extend to alligators. Therefore, effective
immediately and until the interpretation of the ODA
changes, ARR will discontinue taking in pet alligators
in Ohio and sending them to appropriate facilities in
their natural environment where they belong in Florida.
The elected officials you voted into office
took away your right to own many exotic
animals, and also made it almost impossible for exotic
animal rescue organizations to operate legally. In
cahoots with this conspiracy were Governor
John Kasich, Jack Hanna, the Humane Sociey of the United
States, the Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio's zoos, and the 129th
Ohio general assembly.
While good regulation
regarding ownership of some of these species is welcome,
an outright ban for everyone- even trained professionals,
legitimate animal welfare organizations,
and those with years of experience- is not a good law.
ARR will still respond to emergencies
involving alligators and crocodiles, however we may only
be able to assist local officials with capture and
consultations. It is up to the Ohio Department of
Agriculture where they can go.
Is Arrowhead tax exempt? Are my donations tax
Yes! Arrowhead Reptile Rescue is recognized by the
US Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 non-profit tax
exempt organization. Your donations and
contributions are tax deductible.
Why did Arrowhead stop accepting pond sliders?
The Ohio Division of Wildlife enacted new rules in 2014
for wildlife rehabilitators prohibiting them from
dealing with both injured native wildlife and native pet
reptiles as well. This includes pond sliders, some map
and painted turtles, and most species that are native to
the state of Ohio. Due to these Ohio Division of
Wildlife regulations and policies, we are no longer
accepting pond slider turtles. Unfortunately we were
forced to choose between helping injured wildlife for
rehabilitation back to the wild, or rescuing native pet
reptiles for adoption to new homes. Since most injured
wild reptiles that come to us are hurt by human beings
and their vehicles, construction, habitat destruction,
and other man-made factors, we chose to continue helping
those reptiles. We regret that state laws and rules
impede on our ability to help reptiles in need.
I found an injured wild animal. Can I keep it at
home and take care of it?
No. It is illegal to try to care for injured wild
animals in Ohio (also Ky and IN). Wildlife
rehabilitators have specialized training to handle
wildlife injuries and illness, and have partnerships
with veterinarians to help provide that appropriate and
proper medical care. Think of wildlife as Ohio's private
animals, and the state only wants their wildlife treated
and cared for by trained professionals. You might be a
nurse, or an EMT, or love animals, or be an animal
rescuer or shelter volunteer, but if you are not a
wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian, then please keep
your hands off the injured wildlife. It is
only acceptable to pick up injured wildlife you find to
transport to an appropriate wildlife rehabilitator.
I found a box turtle and it seems very friendly.
Can I keep it as a pet?
No. Eastern box turtles are a protected native species
in Ohio (also KY and IN). It is illegal to buy, sell,
trade, possess, pick one up, transport, obtain, keep,
injure, or harm an eastern box turtle in any manner.
Box turtles may not have fangs and claws to show you
when they are upset, but rest assured the wild turtle is
terrified and not happy to see you.
I found a box turtle that was obviously a pet.
Should I keep it or pick it up?
No. Box turtles can live over 100 years, and it is not
unrealistic that any given turtle could have been picked
up and kept as a pet and released a number of times in a
century. We have seen turtles with names carved in
them, painted shells, even a bow tied to them.
Please don't continue this cycle. We recommend leaving
wildlife in nature where you find them.
I found a red eared slider turtle in the wild.
Does it have to be euthanized?
Not necessarily. If you find a red eared slider
uninjured in the wild in Ohio, please leave it where you
found it. No action is required. If you find a red
eared slider that is severely injured in Ohio, it cannot
be rehabilitated and released. Injured red eared slider
from the wild cannot be rehabilitated and must be
euthanized. Please call the Ohio Division of Wildlife at
1-800-WILDLIFE for direction or suggestions if you find
an injured wild red eared slider as we do not accept
them for euthanasia.
I think I found an alligator snapping turtle. What
should I do with it?
No, you didn't. These are common snapping turtles in
Ohio. We don't have alligator snapping turtles here.
They are very similar in appearance, especially young
turtles. We recommend leaving wildlife in
nature where you find them.
I found a snake and it is rattling its tail and making a
buzzing noise. Is this a rattlesnake?
In Ohio, probably not. Many species of snakes will shake
their tail when threatened or angry, including milk
snakes, rat snakes, and yes even rattlesnakes. The
rattlesnake just happens to have a rattle on its tail.
Other non-venomous snakes often produce a buzzing sound
when vibrating their tail against something. In Ohio we
only have two species of rattlesnake and they are both
endangered and extremely rare with very low population
There is a huge snapping turtle (or snake) scaring
residents and neighborhood children. What can we do?
Keep in mind we moved into their home, not the other way
around. They belong where they are; humans don't take
animal habitat into consideration when deciding where to
build homes and businesses. If there is a reptile
causing you grief or headaches, we request you simply
relocate them within a mile or so to the nearest
suitable habitat. If the animal is in your home or
building, a nuisance wildlife removal service is who you
need to call.
I heard that turtles under 4" were illegal to sell in
the U.S. ? How come people are selling turtle
hatchlings at the beach? (Or mall, flea market,
pet store, fair, carnival)?
It is illegal to sell turtles under 4" in size in the
United States. But no one, including the federal health
officials who enacted the ban in 1975, enforce it or
seem to care. To this day you can go buy hatchling
quarter-sized turtles just about anywhere. Everyone
knows it happens. Everyone lets it happen. No one
wants to do anything about it.
Do turtles really carry Salmonella? Can my pet
turtle make me sick?
Many reptiles, including turtles, can carry bacteria
such as Salmonella, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, and many
others. As a rule these organisms usually do not make
the reptile sick, show any signs of presence, and do not
require the animal be treated for illness. Some can, in
rare cases, make people sick. These same organisms
can also be obtained from eggs, chicken, produce, and a
number of items we come into contact with every day.
We highly recommend always washing your hands after
handling any animal, practice good hygiene and
cleanliness, and use common sense. It is generally
not recommended to keep reptiles as pets for children
under 5 years of age as they stick things in their mouth
a lot and don't always remember to use good hygiene, or
those with immune system disorders or problems.
I was told my pet reptile won't outgrow the cage.
Is it true that some reptiles only grow as big as their
FALSE. If you feed it right and provide the proper
environment, it will grow. If you are keeping your pet
reptile in a cage that is too small, not feeding it
correctly, and not providing the right conditions, it
will not grow and eventually die.
I was told my pet alligator won't get big if I don't
feed it often and keep it cold. Is this true?
Intentionally neglecting an animal's proper care and
needs is animal cruelty. Not feeding an alligator
the proper amount of food and not providing an alligator
the proper temperatures will result in a sick,
malnourished, deformed, stunted animal. Refusing
to feed your pet enough and willfully not giving it the
correct environment is classic animal cruelty and a
horrible way for any living animal to barely survive.
I am finding a lot of conflicting information on the
internet. How can I tell what is correct and what is
Look at the source. Scientific studies done by
professional researchers, care sheets provided by proven
breeders and herp keepers, and information from
reputable organizations will often be more reliable.
Joe's comment on AskJeeves might not be reliable. Bob's
reptile page might not have all the most current
information or be accurate. Find good sources and lots
of them to compare information.
Did Ohio really ban exotic pets?
Yes! The state of Ohio now has the most strict exotic animal ban in the United States.
Exotic animal owners are not welcome in Ohio.
Other animal owners, be aware they are coming after your
pets next. Even a small monkey that fits in the
palm of your hand is restricted and/or illegal now in
More information about Ohio's exotic
animal ban can be found here:
Did the feds really restrict giant pythons nationwide
because of two counties in Florida?
Yes! The US FIsh and Wildlife Service listed
Burmese pythons, rock pythons, and yellow anaconda on
the US Lacey Act as an invasive and damaging species
because there are some in our southern-most sub-tropical state. We are
unclear how restricting python ownership and movements
in Alaska and Montana will solve the python problem in
Florida. It is rumored boa
constrictors will be added to this list soon, completely
up heaving the pet trade and pet owners everywhere.