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Old 09-06-2002, 11:10 AM   #1
Seamus Haley
She certainly isn't a buisness-person of the kind the board traditionally discusses, but I was curious about people's opinions.

She gets a lot of praise for her work and knowledge, interviews, book deals, internet reccomendations... But she has no biology degrees and much of her information seems enormously outdated or... well... stolen. (No nice way to put that really)

Anyone with any thoughts on her or any of her work, I'd be glad to hear them.

Old 09-06-2002, 12:24 PM   #2
Rob Hill/Geckos Anonymous
She has one of the of the best iguana care sheets available(at least she did last I looked at her site a couple years ago) and to my understanding she is a vet or vet tech.  
However, last I heard she was a major proponent of the ban on reptiles and I have read many things where she was quoted as saying that reptiles should not be owned by anyone.  I don't agree with that of course, but it is a shame that someone who is supposedly recognised as this guru of herpetoculture says they should be banned.  A rumor has also been going around for years that she is also a hypochondriac.  I don't know this for a fact, though, but it does bother me that someone who has a fear of getting sick from anything should be taken as an authority.  
There are also a few of her ideas on euthanasia and various other things I disagree with, but those are just differing opinions, not good or bad things.
Old 09-06-2002, 12:51 PM   #3
A little bit on and a little bit off the subject.
Melissa Kaplan's info is great, she also has years of experience keeping and rehabilitating iguanas.  No she has no biology degree, how many people giving care info about reptiles do?  
As far as the ban on keeping reptiles.  A lot of rescuers share that opinion.  I guess I can understand it coming from their point of view.  When they see countless reptiles being killed because of ill-informed keepers, I suppose it's kind of hard not to feel that way. I don't agree myself, although I would not be opposed to some sort of licensing or something if you keep over a certain number of reptiles.  Kind of like kennel license requirements for people who keep a lot of dogs.  Of course it would have to be very lenient and would have to differ from species to species.  Keeping 10 ball pythons as opposed to 10 Iguanas are 2 totally different things.
Old 09-06-2002, 01:58 PM   #4
Can anyone supply any examples of misinformation?  This is the first I've heard of it, so I'm curious.
Old 09-06-2002, 02:26 PM   #5
Rob Hill/Geckos Anonymous
I don't believe that she gives out "bad" info.  As I said, her iggy care sheets are great and she does have alot of experience on the rescue and care of green iguanas.  However, I just disagree with alot of her ideas.  Not because they are wrong per se(they could be, but might not be), but because I have a different opinion and experience regarding the issues she discusses.
As far as people in the rescue game being for the ban, I have yet to see this.  I know many people who act as reptile rescue/adoption services and I have yet to speak to any of them that agree with the ban wholeheartedly.  There are far more dogs and cats euthanized and placed in shelters every year, but the HSUS and animal shelter volunteers don't even think about banning them.  
My personal opinion is that if you are out rescuing these large and difficult to house herps, you should spend more time educating people about the responsibilities of keeping these animals, not trying to make it so people can never have them.
Old 09-06-2002, 02:37 PM   #6
Rob, I agree with you 100%.  I have talked with a number of rescuers as well. I maybe should have said some, and nowhere near all support some sort of ban.  The hsus doesn't go after cats and dogs because they have no chance.  They have the unfounded fear of snakes and such to help them further their cause with the reptiles.  
As far as melissa kaplan, she does have good info available, tried and true and even links to other Iguana care sites as well that may differ from her own.  The Iguana for dummies book she wrote is a good resource as well and easy to use and follow.  I studied her site before I got my iguana, and her info has been extremely helpful.  Her info may be old, some may be stolen, but she has been doing this for a long time maybe any info you see elsewhere was stolen from her.  Also, if you learn about an animal from somewhere and then teach others the same thing you learn isn't that the same thing?  If so ever time I teach someone something about a snake or lizard I'm stealing because everything I know was learned and taught by someone else.
No one way is ever perfect for everybody or every animal.  It's just good to have the resources there.
Old 09-06-2002, 03:47 PM   #7
I think her info on/about iguanas is great--that is where she has her experience.
I tend to question some of her other info on care of other species.  : )
Herpetoculture certainly is no science.
I question a lot of "herp vets" opinions too. : )

Old 09-06-2002, 05:19 PM   #8
I personally remember a long time ago searching a fairly "new" internet for information on the care and breeding of boa constrictors.  It seems as though Melissa's care sheet on boa constrictors was the only one around.  

Here is how it starts

</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Take a moment....
...and ask yourself a couple of very important questions such as: do you really want a snake that will get to be 10 feet long, weigh over 50 pounds, urinate and defecate like a St. Bernard, should live more than 30 years and for whom you will have to kill mice, rats and, eventually, small rabbits? Many people think that it will be easy to find someone who will take it if they decide they don't want their Boa when it is 8 or 10 feet long. So, take a look at the classified ads--they always have sale ads for big pythons and boas. The zoo doesn't want any more--they already have more giant snakes than they need. The local herpetology societies and reptile veterinarians always have big snakes for whom they are trying to find homes. At 8 feet and 40 pounds, a 2-year old Boa may already be eating rabbits a couple of times a month and can be very unwieldy to handle alone. You have to interact with them constantly to keep them tame--do you want a hungry, cranky 10 foot snake mistaking your face for prey? Another consideration is who is going to help you clean its enclosure? take it to the vet when it's sick? take care of it when you go away to school or on vacation? No matter how much they love you, there are some things a mother, and your friends, will not do! Owning a big snake is not cool; it is a major, long-term commitment and responsibility.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>

Now I am not saying that all this information is not true to some degree, however I question an 8 foot, 2 year old boa, and I question several other things throughout the remainder of her care guide, but this this type of information is exactly what you are talking about.

There are a ton of people that WANT to take responsible care of their boas and need a good source of reliable information that will empower them to do so. &nbsp;Not someone to slam them down as a irresponsible human for wanting to even think about owning a boa constrictor.

It was Melissa's "care" guide that was the main reason my website exists today. &nbsp;I have tried with exhausting research, and talking extensively with Jeff Ronne and others, to establish a true care guide that helps people be responsible and caring owners.

I always said "Knowledge is Power" with anything we do. &nbsp;If we can educate people instead of slamming them, maybe there will be fewer occasions of irresponsible ownership.

I may be wrong, but that is how I see it.
Old 09-06-2002, 06:03 PM   #9
Rob Hill/Geckos Anonymous
Thank you for pointing that out Clay. &nbsp;That is one of my issues with her way of "educating" the masses. &nbsp;Laced throughout her caresheets are those kind of negative remarks. &nbsp;I 100% agree with what she says about the long-term commitments of keeping herps and that you should be prepared to take it on(I have five boas all over 6 feet myself). &nbsp;However, it does not mean that you are an irresponsible idiot if you are willing and wanting to take on the challenges of keeping a large snake or lizard. &nbsp;
There are lots of good care sheets out there on some of the larger potentially more "dangerous" herps out there that extoll the virtues of proper planning and commitment, but only in Ms. Kaplan's caresheets do you get subversely labeled as irresponsible and stupid for even thinking of taking on the challenge. &nbsp;
Again, I think she has some decent information on green iguanas, but I think her way of "educating" potential owners should be revised.
Old 09-06-2002, 07:22 PM   #10
Oops, forgot my name way back up there.

Richard Mottacelli

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