The Humane Society of The United States has designated November 7-13, 2021, as National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week. The Bug Shed Team would like to express our heartfelt thanks to shelters, rehabilitation centers, and rescues for providing creatures of all kinds with a second chance at the life they deserve. To shed light on the vital work these organizations do in and around our community, we are going to highlight 5 reptile rescues in the US in this blog post so you can learn how to:

  • Get involved with animal rescues
  • Find a pet reptile from a reputable shelter or rescue
  • And spread the word about the fantastic work they do!

A note on reptile and amphibian breeders: The Big Shed supports and admires responsible reptile breeders. There are many great reasons to buy reptiles from an ethical breeder and plenty of reliable folks to work with if you choose to go this route. In fact, The Bug Shed co-founder, Rich, got into breeding dubia roaches when he was running his own bearded dragon breeding operation. However, more people than ever are interested in supporting animal rescues. Our goal is to simply share how you can get involved in their efforts if you feel called to do so – not to suggest one is better than the other.

5 Great Reptile Rescues in the United States

There are turtle and reptile rescues in every state, but here are just a few we admire from all corners of the United States.

If you’re in the Eastern United States:

Located in Pennsylvania, Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary is doing excellent work helping reptiles in need. This rescue and educational organization’s goal is to encourage people to give reptiles a chance. They do this by connecting people with reptiles who need a new home and providing exciting outreach programs to spread their passion for reptiles. Learn more about adopting from Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary by clicking here.

If you’re in the Midwest:

Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue, located in Illinois, is dedicated to caring for injured, ill, and abandoned reptiles. They have an amazing network of foster homes that care for reptiles while waiting to find their forever homes. To learn more about supporting or adopting a pet from Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue, please click here.

If you’re out West:

A tortoise at a reptile rescue.

The Colorado Reptile Humane Society focuses on reptile education, adoption, and conservation through fostering, internship, and sponsorship opportunities. Learn more about this incredible organization and how you can adopt from them by clicking here.

In California, American Tortoise Rescue has successfully rehomed more than 4,000 tortoises and turtles since its founding in 1990. Their goal is to educate people about turtles and tortoises. They encourage action to help these beautiful animals thrive through activism, education, and invaluable information for turtle owners. ATR no longer provides adoptions, except in exceptional cases for special needs tortoises or turtles. But you can still support their efforts by donating money here.

If you’re in the Southern United States:

Texas Reptile and Small Animal Rescue (TRSAR) is a female-directed, nonprofit rescue that serves the state of Texas. In fact, they were the very first nonprofit rescue dedicated to reptiles and other exotic pets in Texas. TRSAR takes in unwanted pets and rescues to rehabilitate, perform a wellness check, provide veterinary care, temperament test, socialize, and finally – adopt out reptiles and other exotic pets (like parrots) to qualified forever homes. They are committed to responsible captive animal husbandry and work with area animal shelters and animal control to ensure homeless animals receive the life they deserve. Learn how you can adopt from TRSAR here.

How to Rescue Reptiles Near You

Try these strategies if adopting your next pet is in your heart:

  1. Talk with a local vet. They may have connections with an area rescue or know about one out of state.
  2. Hit the message boards. Websites like Reddit, Facebook, and Quora are excellent places to ask around for a reputable shelter or rescue.
  3. is an outstanding place to find reptiles and amphibians to adopt. A quick search in our area yielded some pretty impressive results! We were able to find a leopard gecko and two bearded dragons within a 20-mile radius.

No matter the route you take, adopting is always a thoughtful way to bring a new pet into your home.

How to Get Involved at an Animal Shelter or Reptile Rescue

A lot goes into running an animal shelter or reptile rescue. The great part is that it totally depends on the generosity of people like you. Ways to help your local shelter or rescue include:

  • Donating time
  • Donating money
  • Donating supplies like paper towels, cleaning agents, food, litter, leashes, and old linens.
  • Adopting your next pet from a reptile rescue or animal shelter.

If none of these are feasible for you, simply sharing social media posts from local rescues does a ton to help spread awareness.

Stay Tuned: Our Own Adoption Journey Starts SOON!

We’ve decided that The Bug Shed needs a dubia loving rescue mascot! As such, we are in the process of searching for a new pet to adopt. We have settled on a gargoyle gecko because of their gorgeous, vibrant coloration and easygoing nature. We will be sure to update you as soon as we bring the little guy or gal home. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for updates all along the way. And BONUS – you’ll receive a coupon code for 10% off your first order in your inbox.

We’d LOVE to See Your Rescue Reptile

Do you have a rescued reptile or amphibian? If so, we’d love to meet them! Please tag us in your photos and adoption story on Instagram or Facebook to help us spread awareness and encouragement to those that do the vital work of saving hurt or displaced bearded dragons, geckos, turtles, and more.