The Real Experts


Will the Real Experts Please Take a Bow?

I read with great pleasure, again and again, the FAQs submitted by many 'experts' who wish to 'share' in this wonderful business of small and large exotic animals. Are we lucky, or what?

I do not know if the average reader knows just what goes into making an 'expert' these days, because there are many persons claiming to be 'experts' that are often mirroring information they received elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with this, but:

The true experts (who rarely get credit) in a particular species, are those that really started from scratch. They are a little bit crazy, and a whole bunch eccentric. They really like the animals they have. They are the ones who will sit for hours and watch the way an animal eats, at what time and how much of what. They watch pre-courtship behaviors. They watch for changes in skin, coat, eyes, and many other things. They learn the animals habits and what makes it happy. They produce environments that are aesthetically pleasing to the animals.

They actually love the animals they raise, and in doing so, breeding and producing babies becomes a source of satisfaction. Sound a bit kinky? You bet it does, and thank god for those people. They learn more in a few months than zoos and authentic scientific experts do in years. They are the non-doctorate Jane Goodalls of our industry and we should be glad for their unique and single-minded eccentricities.

I wrote this little article because of experience related by a friend who, like I, is one of these crazies. Her story touched my very soul, and I would like to share it with you, slightly edited. You can probably guess who it is.

"I saw a litter of these newly born babies(a small marsupial) crawling to the teats. Pat, it was one of the most beautiful sights you can imagine. These little babies, 1/3 inch long and 1/4 inch wide have a large, manatee shaped head, with big dark spots under the skin where the eyes will be someday. They were very skinny and pink, and wet. Their front legs were more like flippers, moving them from side to side as they slowly crawled looking for the teats. The heads moved back and forth in slow motion, searching, searching. The hind legs were mere stubs with the tail so short, it reminded me more of a tadpole than a tiny possum. When they each found a teat, they attached and contentedly curled into a fetal position. Pat, seeing this made God and this World seem so much better. It is hard to explain. I remembered you telling me recently when I was upset, to stop, go down to the creek at the bottom of my property and on the way, take time and smell the roses. It was dark outside and I called my husband, who was empting the trash. I took his hand, and we headed toward the creek. On the way, I told him about my experience. Occasionally he squeezed my hand. When we reached the creek, we stood there and listened to the 'silence' of the gurgling creek and the rustling of the birds nesting for the night. The trees were silhouetted against the light from the moon. We took off our shoes and traced the moonbeams in the water and rejoiced in the beauty of nature and God's creation."

This type of great sensitivity and love for all creation is what helps these people see all the little things that matter in the care of our animals. And time and time again they are willing to share what they have learned with all of us, in person, on the phone, in articles, in books and at seminars, the special things they have learned by taking the time to watch and care about the animals they love. Let's give them a little credit, a lot of respect, and a STANDING OVATION!


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