How to tell someone they are harming their lizard.

vgaines

Member
I hope I am posting this in the correct place. Here is my dilemma... I work at a high school and there is a Small Animal class. They have reptiles as well as birds and other small animals. I walk by the room every morning and I have noticed that the only reptile that has any kind of light (hanging at the end of his tank shining threw the glass) is the ball python. There is a nice size beautiful bearded dragon with no lights at all. He may have a heat pad under one end of his tank but I'm not sure. I stopped and looked really close this morning and noticed that tip of is mouth is starting to look "funny"...Not closing all the way.. The small animal teacher is new to the school and I have not met her yet. My question is...how do I approach her about the inappropriate care of the lizard? Should I print up a care sheet from a reliable source and take it to her? Years ago my first lizard, a collared lizard, died from MBD because I was giving incorrect care information from an employee at a chain pet store. It was heart breaking. Any and all suggestions are much appreciated.:(
 

absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'd introduce myself and start a friendly and casual conversation. You can mention that you also like reptiles, and ask how long she'd kept them. Then, take your cues from her responses. If she seems unsure, step in with your own experience and maybe steer her towards a bearded dragon forum, or give her caresheets. Hopefully she'll be open and receptive to a friendly critique!
 

ColorbyChameleon

New Member
Maybe you can ask to volunteer and then just take over the care! If that is not possible I would follow the advice of the other post. I am sure the teacher would be fine with you asking questions and like they said you can kinda feel the situation out! Good Luck!
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
I would be a bit more subtle, would go in look at the dragon, tell her you love reptiles, talk about your cham. Then ask if you may hold the dragon. That will allow you a better look. That also opens up the discussion about her experience with beardies. If she sounds unsure, you can offer pointers, mention the dragon seems cold (without a light it is way cold) then go into lights heat, and that an under tank heater can burn the dragon, but he does need a heat light to keep him about 100f and a UVB. Also try to discuss food. If you need any help let me know. I love beardies and kept them for years.
 

Jupiter

Member
Honestly I might talk to someone higher up in your school's administration as well. Someone who doesn't know the basic requirements for keeping an animal should probably not be teaching a class on it.
 

junglefries

Established Member
resolve

I agree with jupiter. let the higher ups handle it. maybe they'll let you take over their care and let the teacher teach. you also don't want to start a war with a coworker, that usually never works out for either party. However, you don't want to be the snitch either, as that can cause ripples also. it is a fine line. approach with tact, and everything will hopefully work out. "no good deed goes unpunished".
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would be a bit more subtle, would go in look at the dragon, tell her you love reptiles, talk about your cham. Then ask if you may hold the dragon. That will allow you a better look. That also opens up the discussion about her experience with beardies. If she sounds unsure, you can offer pointers, mention the dragon seems cold (without a light it is way cold) then go into lights heat, and that an under tank heater can burn the dragon, but he does need a heat light to keep him about 100f and a UVB. Also try to discuss food. If you need any help let me know. I love beardies and kept them for years.

Another tip might be to mention your "favorite" UV light and innocently ask which she prefers. If she looks blank, explain why YOU use one and that its needed for diurnal basking herps. You can also sort of wander into personal experiences (true or made up) with aspects of care that you learned from. Include an innocent mistake so she doesn't feel like the only uninformed one.
 

DanSB

Avid Member
What ever happened to a friendly direct approach?

Just be polite, introduce yourself, and tell them you're concerned about the level of care being provided.

You know better, it is your obligation to teach. A teacher who isn't willing to learn is a farce and not worth being acquainted with anyway.
 

Folded

New Member
In my opinion the best approach would be to introduce yourself, show your interest in the animals, and let that lead into a conversation about their care.

Generally speaking, it is in poor taste to go over somebody's head before trying to resolve the issue directly with them.
 

lovepicasso

New Member
I think I would just have to be direct but friendly, saving that poor creature would mean more to me than having a co-worker angry with me.....that could be worked out later after the dragon has improved.
 

ChamLady

Member
I'd go for the care sheets. Non-judgemental, non-confrontational, and a friendly teaching aid for the students. ;)
 

vgaines

Member
Well, I stopped by the Small Animal classroom this morning and introduced myself. I first told the teacher that the teacher I work with had said that some of our kids (I work with special needs kids) would benefit from working with and helping take care of small animals. She didn't seem to keen on the idea. Luckily, she only teaches four classes and the Small Animal teacher that I know well teaches the other three. While I was explaining to her about our kids coming down to help out with the animals the other teacher walked in. I was direct but polite and asked him if he was gonna be getting lights for the bearded dragons. (yes, there are two). He said he was just waiting on PO's from the school district and that he put the heat pads in the tanks so they would at least have heat. I was telling him about Arcadia lights but the problem is he has to have a PO. He said he would ask our local pet store to see if they could order them. We chatted for a few minutes about feeding etc. and he is very open to the idea of us coming to help out. I'm sure that if I can get my own feeders up and going I will share. I told him that when I switch from compact UVB to tube style UVB that I would give him the extra domes to use. So all in all, things went pretty good. I am very shy and it was hard to walk in and introduce myself but I am really glad I did...Now I can make sure the animals (lizards and small animals) are well taken care of..Thanks everyone for y'all's suggestions..

Virginia
 

DanSB

Avid Member
Well, I stopped by the Small Animal classroom this morning and introduced myself. I first told the teacher that the teacher I work with had said that some of our kids (I work with special needs kids) would benefit from working with and helping take care of small animals. She didn't seem to keen on the idea. Luckily, she only teaches four classes and the Small Animal teacher that I know well teaches the other three. While I was explaining to her about our kids coming down to help out with the animals the other teacher walked in. I was direct but polite and asked him if he was gonna be getting lights for the bearded dragons. (yes, there are two). He said he was just waiting on PO's from the school district and that he put the heat pads in the tanks so they would at least have heat. I was telling him about Arcadia lights but the problem is he has to have a PO. He said he would ask our local pet store to see if they could order them. We chatted for a few minutes about feeding etc. and he is very open to the idea of us coming to help out. I'm sure that if I can get my own feeders up and going I will share. I told him that when I switch from compact UVB to tube style UVB that I would give him the extra domes to use. So all in all, things went pretty good. I am very shy and it was hard to walk in and introduce myself but I am really glad I did...Now I can make sure the animals (lizards and small animals) are well taken care of..Thanks everyone for y'all's suggestions..

Virginia

Sounds like you did great! Especially with being a shy person this sort of thing can be really hard. I for one am proud of you, good job!
 

Folded

New Member
Sounds like you put the animals' well being ahead of your own(psychological).

As a fellow "shy person", I can certainly understand how difficult that type of situation can be.

kudos to you. :)
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Great job! This can be a very difficult conversation to start and it sounds like you approached it very well! The key is to not put people on the defensive and accost them with what they've done wrong, and that takes some tact and patience. And now the animals will benefit from it. Keep up the good work! :)
 
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