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YOU WILL GET A REJECTION OF YOUR QUESTION IF YOU FAIL TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO QUESTIONER IN FULL!!. I am primarily here to assist with health concerns. I am here for the more difficult questions. Not for questions that you could research and easily find the answer yourself. I have stringent standards that you provide DETAILED and RELEVANT background history on your pet before you ask me ANY question about it other than GENDER or ID. The requested information is in the instructions to questioner. Failure to answer EACH of those questions to provide that background will result in your question being REJECTED. I can answer questions related reptile husbandry, identification (esp. in Texas and the SW), legal aspects, and intermediate-advanced level medical care. I am the director of Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue (TX), a wildlife rehabilitator specializing in reptiles, a founding member of The Society for Horned Lizard Preservation, a subscriber to the International Veterinary Information Service, wikivet.net, lafebervet.com, and a Dept of State Health Services certified animal control instructor (CE) for reptile handling. I do most of my own veterinary care in-house. I am most experienced in Chelonia (turtles&torts) with box turtles and common smaller tortoises; and in Squamata (lizards & snakes) with everything from Anoles, Geckos, Beardies, and Monitors, to venomous snakes. I am most known for my expertise with horned lizards (Phrynosoma). With snakes, my primary expertise is in Crotalids (rattlesnakes), but I can answer a broad range of questions about various species. I am not aware of any reptile related question, in general, that I would not be able to provide some reasonable answer for. I have a direct style and may tell you something you did not want to hear; but the welfare of the animal comes first with me, and I will always reflect that position in my answer.

Experience in the area

I am an amateur herpetologist, with 20+ years experience in reptiles. I am a reptile rescuer and subscriber to the International Veterinary Information Service. I have medical and scientific resources available, and have had to learn herp medical care over the years. I am not a vet, but I read from the same materials and have had to correct a few in the past, as it related to reptiles. My specific area of expertise is in Chelonians ( primary- Box Turtles ), Phrynosoma ( Horned Lizards ), and Crotalids ( primary- Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes ); though I have some knowledge and/or experience also with aquatic turtles ( primary- Red Eared Sliders ), tortoises ( primary-Sulcata and Horsfieldii ), monitors ( primary- Savannah ), many other smaller lizards, and with some colubrid snakes.

I am currently the caretaker of 5 Horned Lizards, 22 Box Turtles, 18 aquatic turtles, 7 fire Bellied Toads, 3 Green Iguanas, 1 Spiny Lizard, 1 Bullsnake, 5 Eastern Ratsnakes, 4 Great Plains x Eastern Ratsnakes, 1 Albino Great Plains Ratsnake, 1 Massasauga Rattlesnake, 1 Leopard Gecko, 7 Fox Squirrels, 2 Deer Mice, 2 Hispid Cotton Rats, 3 Merriam's Pocket Mice, 1 Cotton-Tail, 1 Former racing pigeon, and 1 Budgie. Previously: Leopard Geckos, Golden Gecko, African White-Spotted Wall Gecko, Mediterranean Geckos, Bahama Anoles, Ca. Kingsnake, Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes, Russian Tortoise, Savannah Monitor, and Eastern Cotton-tail rabbits.


Co-Founder & Director: Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue http://wichitafallsreptilerescue.webs.com http://facebook.com/reptilerescue

Founder: The Society for Horned Lizard Preservationhttp://facebook.com/hornedlizards


LafeberVet.com contributor. The Horned Lizard Husbandry Manual - self published 75 pages of care information on genus Phrynosoma.

Wikipedia entry "Horned Lizards" - contributed to a majority of the content.

allexperts.com, and various reptile related forums and email lists under the handles "fireside3" and PhrynosomaTexas".


My 20+ yrs of hands-on field, rehabilitation, and captive husbandry experience beats a PhD any day of the week. I am also a state accredited animal control instructor for reptile handling.

Past/Present Clients

I was requested to provide my care manual on the Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos), for the Montreal zoo. My manual is also used by several other zoological institutions in N. America. I also teach reptile education to summer camps, and instruct wildlife rehabilitators on live saving and rehab techniques with reptiles.

What do you like about this subject?

Chelonians can make very interesting and entertaining companions. Though they are considered the most "primitive" of reptiles, they tend to be the most intelligent, in some cases rivaling the intelligence of canines. They can be trained/conditioned in many ways, and can learn to identify shapes, colors, and situations.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

To make the general public more knowledgeable and respectful of the plight of turtles and tortoises in decline due to collection, loss of habitat, and otherwise coming into contact with civilization. To promote the general welfare of Chelonians, and to challenge the average reptile keeper to better their husbandry knowledge.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Some reptiles can be conditioned/trained, and many species of tortoises may rival the intelligence of canines. Some, such as tortoises and Iguanas, are very social and can recognize individual persons. Pain in reptiles is misunderstood by the average person because they cannot whine or whimper, and may not react as expected; however, they do feel pain.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

Reptiles are not suitable pets for children, and knowledge of average buyers is usually lacking. Reptiles are not considered cuddly, so are commonly mistreated or kept in improper conditions even in chain pet stores which claim to put animals "first". Everyone jumps through hoops when a bunny or kitty is in a cold or unclean habitat. Hardly an eyebrow is raised in these places for the reptile.

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Recent Answers from Mick

2016-10-12 Turtle Dying:

You keep these turtles in a damned BUCKET??   Sounds like you need to release them before they all die. I'm not too keen on assisting wildlife poachers. And your conditions sound like a nightmare.   Furthermore

2016-09-11 injured turtle:

You didn't follow the instructions though. I need the background I request in my instructions. I need to know about the enclosure and the specifics on the lighting. And you didn't state what species this

2016-08-12 Redfoot Tortoise:

Can you give me a specific link to the specific supplement product you're talking about. The one's I'm seeing reference to may not be appropriate AT ALL. Forums are actually one of the most terrible places

2015-08-28 Releasing Turtles:

This depends. Where were these hatchlings obtained? Were they taken from the wild or were they captive bred by you or purchased this way?     Post a photo of their size, and of this lake as well if you

2015-08-19 Turtle eggs:

Yeah, the first screw up was they should have never been messed with. And you sprayed them with water before checking into what should be done. They aren't supposed to actually be wet. Then you're dad


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