How a Shelter Agent Nursed a Gecko Back to Health

Olive

Olive

When you visit an animal shelter, you probably don’t plan on adopting a reptile. Not surprisingly most animal shelters don’t offer small animal or reptile adoptions. Reptile care is very different from cat or dog care, and shelters are not always equipped to care for them. However, here at the at the Animal Rescue League of Boston we take in all sorts of animals and have a very well-rounded staff who are capable of caring for a variety of species of animals. One such staff member is Lex, an Animal Care and Adoption Agent at the League’s Boston branch with a passion for reptiles.

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Lex & Olive

“I am a shelter agent here at League. It is well known around the shelter that I own multiple reptiles and like to go to Reptile Expos in my spare time. This is where Olive comes in.

One morning, Rescue Technician Bill walked up to me with something hidden in his sweatshirt.

“Do you want to take care of this?”
“What is it?”

He showed me a small leopard gecko. She was cold, thin, and trying to shed, but with little success. Her nose indicated an Upper Respiratory Infection. She was abandoned in an apartment and left for the cleaning crew to find. Luckily, they contacted us to take her. Our Rescue Team usually brings these types of reptiles to rescue groups designed to care for them, but Bill knew I would love to care for her. Reptiles are often found abandoned or as “stays,” meaning they were let loose. People often don’t know where to turn if they have to surrender such an animal.

Olive being bottle-fed.

Olive being bottle-fed.

Olive was really upset when she came in and rightly so. I brought her home where my fiancé and I nursed her back to health. She saw Dr. Mertz at the New England Wildlife Center for a medical checkup and medication. We had to force feed every day, because she was underweight and unwilling to eat on her own. We also had to soak her a couple of times a week and spray her down with reptile shedding aid. Overtime, she improved to the point where she started to eat on her own. She also became comfortable with us and her temporary home. Her personality started to show through as resilient, playful, and a little sassy. She was often comical when she would shake her head so fast that her food would fly out of her mouth, basically a reptile’s way of saying YUCK!

Two weeks ago Olive was brought back to the League’s Boston branch and deemed adoptable. She was still a little underweight but improving with a hearty appetite for meal worms. (Geckos often take time to build up the fat reserves.) She no longer has full fingers due to poor shedding in the past, but these are just proof of how resilient this little lady is, since she still climbs all over her cage accessories.

Geckos make great beginner reptile pets and they live a long time. To help out abandoned reptiles like Olive, you can donate reptile items at one of the League’s Adoption Center or support our cause by donating online.” – Lex, Animal Care and Adoption Agent

We are thrilled to say that Olive was adopted this past weekend! Thank you Lex for taking care of this lil’ gal and nursing her back to health! We are so thankful to have dedicated staff like you!

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Lex, Olive and Olive’s new dad, as Olive gets ready to go to her new home.