Reclining with a laptop on my couch in Brooklyn, I searched “buy lizard online” and clicked the first link. I filled my cart with a flying dragon, a couple of caimans, a red-eared slider turtle, a poison dart frog and an albino garter snake.
I agreed to the terms and conditions, certifying that I knew the laws governing reptile ownership (it is illegal for me to own some of these reptiles in New York), that I understood exceptions for baby turtles (I still don’t), and that I wouldn’t hold the company responsible.
Now all I had to do was provide a credit-card number and my new pets would be delivered to my doorstep the next day.
That I can impulsively buy a reptile — or hundreds at the same time — without fully understanding what I’m getting into is startling to some experts concerned with animal welfare. Click on the following sentence to access the full story.
A multimillion-dollar industry has emerged around caring for them, with many veterinarians specializing in exotic pet care and herpetology. In addition to the internet, reptiles are sold at pet stores, flea markets, street vendors and herpetology fairs.