EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — We've all heard of humane society's and animal shelters for dogs, cats and even the occasional bunny or guinea pig, but what about our scaly friends?
Kaylea Ostrander calls the basement of a home in Eaton Rapids her little zoo. It's home to a dog, a cat, some birds and 22 reptiles all rescued and most looking for their forever home.
“I accidentally started a reptile rescue,” Ostrander said,
A rescue properly named the Dragon Queen Reptile Rescue.
“Everybody just kept calling me the Dragon Queen or they'd be like, oh, like the lizard queen, the Dragon Queen and so it just kinda made sense,” Ostrander said.
It all started with a bearded dragon named Leo.
“I had gotten one of the bearded dragon kits," Ostrander said. "I thought I did adequate research. I did not. So, he had improper temperatures, low temps, so he wasn't eating and the UVB was way too low.”
After doing more research, Kaylea and Leo did a complete 360 degree turn.
“I got everything switched around, and I kid you not within an hour of getting his temperatures up, and the UVB light switched, he was smashing bugs,” Ostrander said.
That's when Kaylea realized she could help other reptile parents.
“I help owners that are interested in how I'm actually learning and helping the reptiles, keeping the reptiles and then I take surrenders, no judgments,” Ostrander said.
She also helps more reptiles like Leo.
“I got three beardies, within three months and got my first free Craigslist rescue,” Ostrander said.
But sometimes, even when Kaylea does everything she can to help, it's too late.
“So Clementine, who just passed away last weekend, she had broken pelvis when I went to pick her up,” Ostrander said. “These people just left her on the bottom of her tank, unable to get around or anything and just left her with a broken pelvis. How she even got a broken pelvis, not sure because that requires some effort.”
Kaylea said it's hard for reptiles to recover from something like a broken pelvis.
“There was no reason for Clementine to have suffered like that," Ostrander said. "Just because you like pets that doesn't show me somebody that likes pets.”
Cases like this keep her traveling all across the state to rescue reptiles in need.
“I want them to go to their new homes like I want their new homes to enjoy them,” Ostrander said.
She wants to make sure they have a second chance in a proper home filled with love.
“I almost instantly know who's going to go with that family for some reason, like, I don't know why, but it hasn't not worked out yet," Ostrander said. "Literally ones that are kind of spicy with me or in general, instantly in love with their family, like, no issues.”
Even if that means keeping one or two for herself by accident.
“I did try to re-home Milo," Ostrander said. "I cried for two weeks when I re-homed him. It did not work out in his new home and he has never went anywhere since.”
She will also help reptile parents properly take care of their newest family member.
“I do require proof of proper enclosure lights and stuff, but then again, I have no problem helping you to make sure that it's correct or fixing anything that you see fixed and I usually have extra UVB lights, like new ones and stuff that they can buy from me instead," Ostrander said.
Kaylea loves every single one before finding them their next home.
“Just because they don't make noise does not mean you do not know they're mad at you," Ostrander said. "They're very expressionistic with their faces and they're incredibly intelligent. Oh my goodness intelligent.”
And she watches them start to trust and love again, before they go off to their new home.
“You can train them to kiss on command and like Ringo, one of mine, he does kiss on command," Ostrander said. “They all have such incredible personalities. It's so funny. It's so nice to watch, like I have a lot of before. Or like the day I got whichever animal and like the day they went to their new homes. Those pictures are fun to look at.”
Kaylea said she is able to ship reptiles out to their new homes, but does still require proof of a proper habitat for them
You can check out the reptiles she has up for adoption on her Facebook page.
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