New Mexico's Pet Resource FALL 2006



Welcome to Adobe GoLive 6 Note to Readers: Las Cruces Reptile Rescue was burglarized and some of its animals injured and killed the week of September 11th. Read about the break-in here: Reptiles Stolen, Killed. You can also make a donations of time, supplies or money to the rescue group to help them in this time of need. Go to their website at to learn more, or call Roy Thibodeau (505-496-8111) or new director Mike Daniels (505-312-3208).

Mission of the group.

Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate (when necessary) and release reptiles back into the wild, particularly rattlesnakes.  We also rescue pet reptiles that are no longer wanted by their owners, or that their owners can no longer take care of.  Our mission is also to educate the general public as to the conservation of reptiles and their natural habitat.

Brief history of the group. How long have you been in existence?

  The Las Cruces Reptile Rescue has been operating since July of 2000.  It was originally founded by Roy & Terri Thibodeau, seeing a need for reptile rescue in Dona Ana County.

Approximately how many animals do you take in every year?

Each year the rescue takes in over 400 animals, including more than 100 rattlesnakes that are picked up on people’s properties.  Many are unwanted iguanas, boas and pythons, as well as turtles and many different lizard species.

How many animals do you adopt out each year?
We adopt out as many as 200 animals a year.

What requirements do you have for intake of animals and adoption?

On intake we require basic information from the individuals who surrender their animals.  Names, telephone numbers, how long they had the reptile, what problems they report in keeping them.  We also do an initial health evaluation of each animal, often taking specimens to a local veterinarian.  Potential adopters must fill out an adoption application, and answer important questions related to the proper care of the animal. 

Do you inquire about the past/present experience of potential adopters with reptiles as pets or ask for references?

We don’t ask for references, however we do question individuals concerning their knowledge of caring for the pet in question.  If they fail to demonstrate an acceptable level of commitment and knowledge of the animal they wish to adopt, the application is denied. 

Do you make follow-up home visits or phone calls to adopters?

We always make follow-up phone calls to check on the status of the animals and their adopters to be sure the adoption is going well.  We may call occasionally for up to a year after the adoption has taken place.

What is your adoption fee and what does it cover? (i.e., does it cover shots, transportation, etc.)

Adoption fees are based on the level of care the animal requires.  For example,  a box turtle is relatively easy to care for, and not any major threat to the health of the adopter.  Therefore the fee is usually $15.  However, snakes such as large pythons (potentially deadly animals) come under the “difficult” category, and adoption fees run as high as $100 or more.

What are your provisions for the return of animals if they aren’t compatible with their adopters?

We actually insist that animals are returned to our facility if the adoption ends up not being a compatible one.  Anyone who sells or gives away the animal they adopted is permanently banned from ever adopting in the future.

Do you use a foster-based system or do you have a physical building to house animals?

Most of the animals are kept at our home, although we do have other volunteers who take animals in as foster animals until suitable homes are found for them.

How is the group financed?

80% of the costs are absorbed by the volunteers, while the rest usually comes from donations from people.  It is extremely difficult to come up with funding in the form of grants or otherwise.  Our local Petco usually provides several hundred dollars per year to our rescue efforts.

What do you need in terms of volunteers, goods, services, etc.?

We always need funding to purchase rodents and other reptile food for our animals.  Money for new or replacement caging is important, as well as funding for gas and maintenance of vehicles for rescues.  Currently we are in desperate need of a new rescue truck.  Volunteers are hard to come by, but very much needed.  People who are willing to train for venomous snake handling are in high demand, and we need more people to help clean cages, take data and so on.

Contact Roy Thibodeau, Las Cruces Reptilc Rescue, 9323 Corona Rd., Las Cruces 88012; phone (505) 373-1486; email:; website:  

Disclaimer: PETroglyphs presents Saving Animals for informational purposes only. It does not imply endorsement by PETroglyphs of the rescue groups surveyed.

HOME   NM Resources   Archives   Links   Top