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  • Kiersten Formoso

Inspiring Love for that which is Different

Updated: Jan 20, 2019

As mammals, humans have always had a kinship with our fellow mammals. After all, mammals are warm, soft, cute, smart, make complex sounds, many are social, and overall they appear and do things which are more like us. Reptiles (non-feathered ones) on the other hand have not widely experienced the same tender love and affection that most mammals have primarily due to them appearing different from us. To many, reptiles are cold, scaly, sneaky, primitive, scary, and nothing at all like mammals such as dogs, cats, hamsters, horses, elephants, whales, and humans. Of course, the last common ancestor that mammals (synapsids) and reptiles (sauropsids) shared existed about 320 million years ago and so we've had a lot of time to become different from one another. However, there are lots of ways reptiles are still similar to us as modern ethology studies and even social media videos have demonstrated complex reptile behaviors and emotions that's hopefully helping to undo their negative reputation. From crocodilians playing with otters (Dinets, 2015) to pet snakes recognizing their handlers, we're learning more and more about the deeper aspects of reptile cognition and intelligence every day.

Why is this important? Well, it's important to educate people on the complexity of reptiles because many all over the world are suffering in terrible situations including heinous skin farms, the cruel pet trade in which millions of reptiles die every year, and ignorant hunting out of fear and even revenge. My other website www.reptilefriends.weebly.com, a passion project which I am still working on, will be a fuller version of my Reptile Friends blog posts here and hopefully one day be a place people can refer to for examples and reasons for why reptiles are not cold and unfeeling, but deserving of love, empathy, respect, and compassion. If you are also passionate about reptile welfare and interested in assisting with that site, please don't hesitate to send me an email!