DANSVILLE, Mich. (WLNS) — With a passion for animals and the experience working to care for them, one couple from Dansville created the Saving Scales Reptile Rescue, one of the largest reptile sanctuaries in mid-Michigan.

“We’re still selling the reptiles as part of the regular sales model and unfortunately they’re not always given the correct information and expectations of care,” said Kate Turner, Director of Saving Scales Reptile Rescue.

Turner and her husband founded Saving Scales Reptile Rescue in 2014. She believes we see so many neglected reptiles because of a lack of education.

For instance, some reptiles have a life span of up to 50 years.

A snake is being held at the Saving Scales Reptile Rescue.

“Finding out that they have such long lives, and they need so many different levels of care can really catch people off guard. And it’s not always something they’re prepared for. So that education and showing people that they can make great pets, as long as you know what to expect of them,” Turner said.

When caring for the reptile is too much — Saving Scales will step in and take the animal off your hands, like Betty the 8-year-old Argentine black and white Tagu that was taken in after her owner was deployed overseas.

“Her personality is so amazing, we actually brought her into our education program. So, she has done things like Binder Park reptile days and goes out on events with us sometimes. Just kind of lays in a little dog bed and lets kids pet her. She is a really great representation of how amazing a large lizard can be as long as you’re prepared for that size,” Turner said.    

After being rescued, the reptiles will be brought back to good health, and they will be put up for adoption.

People who are interested will have to go through an application process to show they know how to care for these animals. Once that’s done, you will be able to pick from dozens of reptiles, like Gilbert the tortoise.

“They can also be really personable. They like chin scratches, and they can actually feel everything on their shell. So, giving them little butt scratches just like you would your dog they can really enjoy that, and they will even do a little dance for it,” Turner said.

In just this year alone, Saving Scales Reptile Rescue has gotten more than 100 exotic animals a new home.

If you’re interested, you can find more information at savingscalesmi.org.