IACUC: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
(II) Role of the IACUC
(III) Rules of Procedure
(IV) Scope of Power
(V) Recommendations from the Herpetological Animal Care and Use Committee (HACC) of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
The function of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is to ensure humane use of reptiles in laboratory research. The IACUC should make every effort to work with Investigators such that their research missions are supported. The role of the IACUC in approving and monitoring laboratory use of reptiles includes responsibilities for ensuring that laboratory facilities and housing support the health and well-being of study animals.
The role of the IACUC necessarily is limited to considerations that are practical for implementation at locations where field research is to be conducted. The IACUC must be aware that whereas vertebrates typically used in laboratory research represent a small number of species with well understood husbandry requirements, the classes Amphibia and Reptilia contain at least 12,280 distinct species with very diverse and often poorly known behavioral, physiological, and ecological characteristics.
IACUC serves to ensure that laboratory research with reptiles meets the following criteria, and has an ethical obligation to follow these guidelines whenever realistically possible:
(1) Procedures avoid or minimized distress to animals, and are consistent with a conceptually sound research design.
(2) Procedures do not unnecessarily duplicate previous work.
(3) Procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight distress to the animals should be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia.
(4) Methods of euthanasia will be consistent with recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Panel on Euthanasia (Smith et al., 1986).
(5) The living conditions of animals held in captivity either in the laboratory, at holding facilities, or at field sites should be appropriate for that species and contribute to their health and well being. The housing, feeding, and non-medical care of the animals will be directed by a scientist who is trained or experienced in the proper care, handling, and use of the species being maintained or studied. The investigator should ensure that all animals are maintained in a state of cleanliness that promotes good health and a safe and stress-free environment. Feeding intervals, requirements for water, temperature, and humidity levels will vary greatly, and the departure of these parameters from mammalian norms should be carefully explained to IACUC members, attending veterinarians, or personnel who might not be knowledgeable about the biology of amphibians and reptiles. Some experiments (e.g., competition studies) will also require the housing of mixed species, often in the same enclosure. Mixed housing is also appropriate for holding or displaying certain species. It is expected that the investigator working with a species will have the expertise to construct enclosures suitable for the focal taxon. Animals held in captivity should be monitored carefully for natural behaviors and that sufficient food resources are available, either naturally or through supplementation.
(6) The investigator must have knowledge of all regulations pertaining to the animals under study, and must obtain all necessary federal, state, and local permits for the proposed studies. Work with many species is regulated by the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). Regulations affecting a single species may vary with country and with districts or regions.
(7) Individuals of endangered or threatened taxa should not be removed from the wild nor imported or exported, except in cases involving conservation efforts that are in full compliance with applicable regulations.
(8) Studies should use adequate numbers of animals to assure reliability and statistical power for answers to the questions being posed, as inadequate studies will ultimately require repetition. When appropriate, numbers of animals should be justified by specific statistical design requirements, and formal power analysis.
Furthermore, these two statements from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists provide additional recommendations for laboratory research:
(1) Laboratory studies are generally conducted under relatively controlled circumstances with the purpose of testing specific hypotheses within the framework of a broader scientific investigation. Under such circumstances, the IACUC should reasonably assume that investigators can provide defensible estimates of the numbers of animals required for a study, and outline in detail the conditions under which animals will be housed and manipulated. As practicing herpetologists, we recognize the importance of reptiles and amphibians as model systems for teaching basic biological principles in the classroom laboratory. We also note the social and conservation benefits of public outreach using captive amphibians and reptiles. Therefore, the IACUC should be prepared to approve the humane use of reptiles and amphibians for educational purposes, including both routine use in University teaching laboratories, and maintenance of captive animals for the purposes of general public education. As in laboratory research, the use of reptiles and amphibians in teaching laboratories should be described in sufficient detail to justify numbers and procedures. Of particular importance is the instructor’s assurance that procedures using animals in teaching laboratories yield real pedagogical benefits that cannot be obtained by alternative means (e.g., computer simulations). Collections of animals maintained for educational purposes will vary, but they will be usually field-collected and will likely vary in species composition. The IACUC should be willing and prepared to accept “blanket” protocol applications that involve the short- to long-term captivity of several taxonomically diverse species for the purposes of public outreach as well as exploratory research.
(2) There is sound scientific merit in exploratory work, and ample reason for investigators to propose studies of a rather general nature, where opportunity and the flexibility to pursue unanticipated observations may become crucial to the success of the undertaking. New species continue to be discovered in this fashion, and the discovery of novel attributes of known species is to be expected as a consequence of the investigation. The IACUC should recognize that the acquisition of such new knowledge constitutes a major justification for any investigation, and that a corollary of this approach is that protocols may list a large number of individual species, or may refer to taxa above the species level.
(III) Rules of Procedure
Members are appointed to the IACUC by the CEO of the research facility. The IACUC must be qualified to assess the research facility’s Animal Program, Facilities, and Procedures.
The IACUC is composed of:
(1) at least one Chairperson(s).
(2) at least Nonaffiliated member who represents the general public, i.e., has no conflict of interest either personally or financially, and is not a laboratory animal user at any research facility.
(3) Seeking at least one Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) *Please contact us if you are qualified and interested in fulfilling this position*
(4) Alternative members who serve as alternates in the membership category for which they are qualified. Alternatives mat only serve as an alternate in the membership category for which they are qualified. Note: One alternative may be appointed to serve for multiple regular members provided the alternative fulfills the specific membership requirement of the members for whom he or she is substituting. However, an alternate may not represent more than one member at any time.
The entire program is to be reviewed annually by at least 3 IACUC members, and the facility inspected for compliance every 6 months by at least 2 IACUC members. Beyond these requirements an IACUC meeting can be called by the principal investigator or by any member of the committee at any time. The IACUC meets regularly with at least one member from each category present at the time of the meeting, information and protocols that need to be reviewed will be distributed ahead of time. At meetings the IACUC members must reach a unanimous decision to approve or non-approval of the proposals, including any changes to protocol/program. If any IACUC member believes that any part of the proposal is not in accordance with the AWA, then it is his/her responsibility to address these concerns with the rest of the committee.
(IV) Scope of Power
The following research activities require IACUC approval before initiation: (1) Surgery, (2) any activity resulting in greater pain, distress, or degree of invasiveness, (3) in housing or use of animals in a location that is not part of the animal program overseen by the IACUC.
The following research activities require approval by both the IACUC AND consultation with a veterinarian: (1) anesthesia, sedation, or experimental substances, (2) Euthanasia to any method approved in the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, (3) procedures performed on animals
The IACUC does not have the authority to dictate to a researcher how to conduct his/her research by: (a) prescribing methods for the design or performance of research or experimentation, (b) setting standards for the design or performance of research or experimentation.
Special note for studies involving wild vertebrates
When laboratory or field studies on wild vertebrates are to be reviewed, the IACUC must include personnel who can provide an understanding of the nature and impact of the proposed investigation, the housing of the species to be studied, and knowledge concerning the risks associated with maintaining certain species of wild vertebrates in captivity. Each IACUC should therefore include at least one institution-appointed member who is experienced in zoological field investigations. Such personnel may be appointed to the committee on an ad hoc basis to provide necessary expertise. When sufficient personnel with the necessary expertise in this area are not available within an institution, this ad hoc representative may be a qualified member from another institution. Alternatively, when the IACUC lacks the expertise to evaluate and approve specific procedures there are several potential remedies including, but not limited to, educational demonstrations by the principal investigator and external review by expert. We note however, that external review can be time consuming and should not cost legitimate field researchers opportunities to conduct seasonally-sensitive research. The IACUC should be sensitive to the importance of timing in field research with amphibians and reptiles and make every effort to approve legitimate protocol applications.
(V) Recommendations from the Herpetological Animal Care and Use Committee (HACC) of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
(I) Research procedures
(1) Collection and Acquisition
Record Keeping: Whenever an animal is handled and samples are collected, all information that relates to the animal and sample should be thoroughly described and entered into either a field notebook or on specific forms that have been developed to record this information. Information should be as detailed as possible. As much pertinent information should be collected and recorded as possible including species, weight, morphometric measurements, and sex. When practical, images should be collected of each animal handled and digital cameras have made this process very easy. If an animal dies or is euthanized and is necropsied, necropsy forms should be used to record information. For captive animals, a summary of the clinical course of each animal should be recorded.
Commercial acquisition: Under some circumstances, study animals may be acquired through commercial suppliers for laboratory studies and teaching applications. Generally speaking, licensed amphibian and reptile dealers acquire their specimens through trade, or captive breeding. Upon receipt of commercial specimens, and prior to introduction to any existing laboratory colonies, commercial specimens should be subjected to careful inspection for potential health problems or known pathogens. If feasible, a quarantine period may be advisable.
(2) Restraint, handling, and anesthesia
General Principles: Live-capture techniques should prevent or minimize damage to the animal. In addition, live-capture techniques for venomous or otherwise hazardous species should be carefully chosen so as to minimize risk to animals and researchers. The decision to use physical or chemical restraint of wild amphibians or reptiles should be based upon design of the experiment, knowledge of behavior of the animals, and availability of facilities. Investigators should determine and use the least amount of restraint necessary to do the procedure in a humane manner. Because amphibians or reptiles, especially venomous or toxic species (including those with toxic skin secretions), may be capable of inflicting serious injury either on themselves or those handling them, some form of restraint often is prudent. The wellbeing of the animal under study is of paramount importance; improper restraint, especially of frightened animals, can lead to major physical or physiological disturbances that can result in deleterious or even fatal consequences. Animals are best handled quietly and with the minimum personnel necessary. Slightly darkened conditions tend to alleviate stress and quiet the animals and are recommended whenever appropriate.
Chemical Restraint: Many chemicals used for restraint or immobilization of amphibians or reptiles are controlled by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Drugs. Permits are generally required for purchase or use of these chemicals.
Museum Specimens: The collection of samples for museum preparation from natural populations is critical to: 1) understanding the biology of animals throughout their ranges and over time; 2) recording the biotic diversity, over time and/or in different habitats; and 3) establishing and maintaining taxonomic reference material essential to understanding the evolution and phylogenetic relationships of amphibians and reptiles. The number of specimens collected should be kept to the minimum the investigator determines necessary to accomplish the goal of a study. Some studies (e.g., diversity over geographic range or delineation of variation of new species) require relatively large samples (Reynolds et al., 1994).
Whenever amphibians or reptiles are collected for museum deposition, specimens should be fixed and preserved according to accepted methods (McDiarmid, 1994; Jacobs and Heyer, 1994; Simmons, 2002) to assure the maximum utility of each animal and to minimize the need for duplicate collecting. In principle, each animal collected should serve as a source of information on many levels of organization from behavior to DNA sequence. Whenever practical, blood and other tissues should be collected for karyotypic and molecular study prior to formalin fixation of the specimen. Formalin fixation of dead specimens is acceptable practice; however, killing unanesthetized specimens by immersion in a formalin solution is unacceptable.
(II) Housing and Maintenance
(1) General Considerations
When dealing with unfamiliar species, testing and comparing several methods of housing to find the method most appropriate for the needs of the animal and the purposes of the study may be necessary. Restraint and ease of maintenance by animal keepers should not be the prime determinant of housing conditions; however, many times researchers can infer from knowledge of the biology of their animals, what the requirements are for a particular species to thrive. Such information should be incorporated whenever possible Normal field and laboratory maintenance should incorporate, as far as possible, those aspects of natural habitat deemed important to the survival and well-being of the animal. Adequacy of maintenance can be judged, relative to the natural environment, by monitoring a combination of factors such as changes in growth and weight, survival rates, breeding success, activity levels, general behavior, and appearance. Consideration should be given to providing an environment that includes features such as natural materials, refuges, perches, and water baths. Natural foods should be duplicated as closely as possible, as should natural light and temperature conditions unless alterations of these are factors under investigation. Frequency of cage cleaning should represent a compromise between the level of cleanliness necessary to prevent disease, and the amount of stress imposed by frequent handling and exposure to unfamiliar surroundings and bedding. Applied knowledge of animal ethology can assist the investigator to provide optimum care and housing.
The diversity of reptiles and amphibians makes it impractical to provide strict recommendations for housing and maintenance. It is always in the best interest of the principal investigator to ensure the welfare of animals in their care. Failure to do so will likely result in unreliable experimental or observational results. It is reasonable for the local IACUC to require evidence that husbandry protocols for any particular species are appropriate to that species. Likewise, under most circumstances, the principal investigator is usually an authority on the proper care of the focal species, and the IACUC should be receptive to well supported deviations from what might be considered standard procedures for other research organisms. As Pough (1992) points out, reptiles and amphibians require special considerations because of their diversity and ectothermy. The latter of these two features sets reptiles and amphibians apart from more traditional endothermic organisms (mammals and birds) used in biomedical or agricultural research. As ectotherms, reptiles and amphibians are relatively low energy systems with minimal gas exchange requirements, and therefore, they can usually be fed infrequently and housed at relatively high density in rooms with fewer air changes per unit time. There are several physical and biological factors that must be considered when housing and caring for reptiles and amphibians, including; temperature, light, humidity, availability of water, refuges, behavioral or social interactions, cage substrates, and nutrition. Some attention should be paid to each of these factors to ensure that the requirements for physical, social, and physiological function are met. Research on amphibians and reptiles may require both short-term (days to weeks) and/or long-term (months to years) confinement, and the degree to which conditions must be maintained will vary depending on duration.
(2) Short-term and temporary housing
In many cases, animals will be held for short periods while they are marked and measured. Housing during these short periods of captivity can focus specifically on minimal requirements for short-term survival, including temperature, moisture, and light conditions. Specifically, these three parameters should be maintained within ranges that facilitate the short-term comfort and well-being of the species in question.
Animals should be confined and transported in a way that does not compromise them from extremes of temperature, moisture, or overcrowding. Some species should be contained independently of others to minimize negative interactions such as predation or disease vectoring.
(4) Long-Term and Colony Housing
Caging and Maintenance: Recommendations for cage characteristics have been discussed at length for both amphibians (Nace et al., 1974) and reptiles (Frye, 1991; Pough, 1992; Schaeffer et al., 1992). In general, containers should be large enough to promote comfort and normal growth, as well as facilitate the provision of other requirements listed below. Most researchers that utilize reptiles and amphibians will work with wild animals that are prone to escape. Cages should be chosen or designed to be escape-proof for the species under consideration. This is a crucial consideration and responsibility for principal investigators that conduct research on venomous or otherwise dangerous species. We recommend locking containers that do not rely on weighted lids or other hastily constructed alternatives. Cages should be constructed of materials that do not absorb water so that they can be easily cleaned, disinfected and dried when appropriate. Likewise, caging materials should not present hazards such as rough edges or surfaces that can damage animals as they search for escape routes. Cages for dangerous species should be transparent so that the position of the animal can be visually assessed. Schedules of cage cleaning should represent a tradeoff between cleanliness and disturbance. In some cases, small amounts of fecal material and pheromones deposited in the cage may be beneficial to behavior and stress levels (reviewed in Pough 1992; and taxon-specific chapters in Schaeffer et al., 1992, Greene, 1996).
Opportunities to express species-typical postures for resting, sleeping, feeding, exploration and play.
Opportunities to express species-typical locomotion
Opportunities to make social adjustments
Thermal Requirements: Because of their ectothermic nature, thermal considerations are paramount to the health and well-being of amphibians and reptiles (Frye, 1991; Pough, 1992). Taxon-specific ranges of preferred temperature can be obtained from primary literature (reviewed in Frye, 1991; Pough, 1992). Frye (1991) provides general guidelines for estimating preferred temperature ranges based on characteristics of natural habitat. Every effort should be made to ensure that caging environment provides thermal conditions that enhance behavioral and physiological function. Pough (1992) recommends cage designs that provide thermal gradients and ample opportunity for animals to behaviorally thermoregulate by choosing from diverse microenvironments. Such caging arrangements may require heat lamps or tapes, and a diversity of perch and retreat sites. For some larger or more eurythermic species, providing such a diversity of thermal microhabitats may be both unnecessary and/or impractical. In such circumstances, adequate control over room temperature can be substituted. Most sources recommend that captive reptiles and amphibians be subjected to thermal cycles around the “preferred” temperature. Where possible, such cycles should be based on natural thermal variation during the normal active season of the organism (provided that natural variation does not exceed the critical thermal limits of the animal)
Lighting: Photoperiod is another important factor that must be considered for captive reptiles and amphibians. Many reptiles obtain physiological cues from light:dark cycles. In addition, many species (especially lizards, and some amphibians), but not all (e.g., most snakes) require an ultraviolet light source for normal calcium metabolism and Vitamin D synthesis (reviewed in Pough, 1992). Principal investigators should research their organisms to determine if UV or fullspectrum lighting is required (reviewed by Pough, 1992). Constant light (or dark) environments should be avoided because they may induce stress (Frye, 1991).
Air Changes and Humidity: As previously indicated, and reviewed in detail by Pough (1992), ectotherms are generally small, have low metabolic rates, and therefore, low rates of gas exchange and waste production. Thus, mammalian or avian standards for room air changes are generally excessive for reptiles and amphibians. In addition, high humidity is necessary for some species; a condition that is more practical and economical with lower air turnover rates (Pough, 1992), and which may require virtually sealed containers for some amphibians (Jaeger, 1992). Humidity requirements should be considered on a case-by-case basis. It is reasonable for the IACUC to request references that recommend specific humidity guidelines for particular taxonomic groups.
Food and Water: General nutritional requirements (e.g., herbivory, omnivory, insectivory, carnivory) are well known for most amphibians and reptiles (Pough, 1992; Schaeffer et al., 1992). For particular species, there is often information available in the primary literature regarding natural diets. Captive diets should mimic natural diets to the closest extent possible, but this is often difficult and substitute foods must be used. Amphibians and reptiles should be fed appropriate foods on schedules that maintain normal growth and/or maintenance depending on the needs of specific studies. Because of their low energy requirements, ectotherms do not usually need frequent feedings, at least in comparison to mammals and birds. The key criteria for feeding schedules should be maintenance of weight and general health. Some reptiles and amphibians may require vitamin supplements (reviewed in Pough, 1992). Water requirements are also variable and species-specific. Water should be provided with knowledge of a species natural history as a guide (Frye, 1991; Pough, 1992; Greene, 1996). For most species, water bowls should be large enough to facilitate full-body soaking should the animal so desire. Water bowls should be kept full to provide ad libitum access (subject to needs of experimental design). For some species with high humidity requirements, or that refuse to drink from open water bowls, frequent misting may be required (Frye, 1991; Pough, 1992; Greene, 1996).
Substrates: Appropriate cage substrates will again vary by organism, and specific recommendations for broad taxonomic groups can be found in Schaeffer et al. (1992). Several undesirable substrates have been identified, including ground corncobs, kitty litter, pine shavings (all of which swell when ingested), and cedar shavings (which have toxic properties, reviewed in Pough, 1992). Attractive qualities of cage substrates include absorbancy, non-toxicity, and resistance to bacterial growth. Substrates that may cause intestinal blockage if ingested should be avoided (Frye, 1991). Some substrates also lend themselves to greater ease of cleaning or replacement (e.g. newsprint, butcher paper, artificial turf).
Social Requirements: Social requirements play an important role in health and well-being in some species. In some cases, territorial individuals may do better when housed individually (e.g., when dominance hierarchies form, some individuals may be injured or excluded from access to food, water, or basking sites), whereas in others, social interactions may enhance an individuals environment (reviewed in Pough, 1992). For species that communicate chemically, efforts should be made to minimize residual pheromones that may have been left by previous cage occupants, or that may be transferred by handling (Jaeger, 1992; Pough, 1992). We recommend that the degree of allowed social interactions be considered on a case-by-case basis, while considering the aims of the study and well-being of the animals. For some animals, especially when the researcher seeks to support a reproductive colony, the induction of artificial hibernation may be beneficial and should be considered (reviewed in Frye, 1991).
(III) Program of veterinary care
(1) Vaccinations and parasite control for ectoparasites or internal parasites.
(2) Capture and restraint methods.
(3) Euthanasia methods
(4) Quarantine procedures and conditions to prevent zoonotic disease.
(5) Pest control
(6) Routine Health Monitoring
(IV) Disposition of ill or dead animals during the course of the study
Diagnosis of specific health problems should be attempted whenever a research animal shows signs of illness. A laboratory animal veterinarian or clinician with experience in amphibian and reptile medicine should be consulted. The American Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians is a professional organization having members with this experience and interest (see: http://www.arav.org/). Diagnostic techniques include blood evaluations (complete blood counts and plasma biochemical evaluations), imaging (radiology, CAT Scan, MRI, ultrasound), endoscopy/laparoscopy, microbial cultures, fecal examinations, and histologic examination of biopsy specimens.
Specific treatment will depend upon diagnostic findings and/or overall assessment by the clinician. A veterinary clinician or laboratory animal veterinarian should be consulted for recommendations. Treatment is both an art and a science. The art is selection of a treatment regime prior to having all diagnostic test results. This will be dependent upon past experiences of the clinician. The science entails selecting the most appropriate diagnostic tests and then either persisting with or changing the current treatment regime. Treatment may entail local, oral and perenteral antimicrobials, parasiticides, fluid administration, and use of drugs to relieve pain. The immune system of reptiles appears to be temperature dependent so maintaining the ill animal at an ideal temperature is imperative. More detailed information on various treatments can be found elsewhere (Klingenberg, 1966; Jacobson, 1999; Wright and Whitaker, 2001a).
Scientifically valuable specimens should be preserved for museum donation, and necropsy may destroy the utility of a specimen. Necropsy, however, may be indispensable for assessing cause of death when such information is critical. Necropsy guides for amphibians (Nichols, 2001) and reptiles (Jacobson, 1978) are available. Necropsies start on the outside and move internally in a methodical manner. The exterior of the animal should be thoroughly examined, describing all gross abnormalities. Drawings of the animal, both dorsally and ventrally, should be used to indicate location of lesions. Wounds to the integument should be noted. Any other changes such as swellings to joint spaces of long bones and cutaneous or subcutaneous masses are recorded. Samples of all significant lesions should be collected for histopathology. Samples are placed in neutral buffered 10% formalin (NBF). NBF will only penetrate 6 mm in 24 hr, so make sure tissues are thin enough to allow adequate fixation. The NBF to tissue volume ratio should be 10:1. If hard tissue such as long bone is collected, it should be fixed in a container separate from the soft tissues to allow adequate penetration and fixation.
The overall appearance of the animal will dictate whether to continue with a full necropsy. If the animal is in an advanced state of postmortem change, such as being bloated with gas, skin or discolored, collection of tissues for histopathologic evaluation will be unrewarding. A complete necropsy should include collection and archiving of fixed (neutral buffered 10% formalin) and frozen tissue (at least -70 C) samples from all tissues, so that materials are available for retrospective studies and research (e.g., toxin analysis, nutrient analysis, virus isolation, transmission studies, immunodiagnostic and molecular diagnostic tests). Normal tissue specimens should be saved in addition to obvious lesions. Specimens from lesions should be representative of the entire lesion and large enough to include adjacent normal tissue. This not only facilitates comparison of pathologic tissue with normal but often the active process and the primary etiologic agent are found at the edges of a lesion.
(V) Disposition of living healthy animals following study
(1) General Considerations
Upon completion of short-term studies, captive animals that cannot be released should be disposed of properly, either by distribution to colleagues for further study or educational purposes, or by preservation and deposition as teaching or voucher specimens in research collections. Obviously, some specimens will be deposited as voucher specimens in an appropriate reference collection to document that the identification was appropriate and to provide a basis for comparison among studies (Reynolds et al., 1994). When possible, specimens that retain scientific or educational value should be properly preserved (Simmons, 2002) and donated to teaching or museum collections. In cases where animals are not sacrificed as a study endpoint, and they are pathogen-free and in good health, there are several options to consider for disposition. Consistent with the concept of minimizing ecological impact and obtaining maximum use out of living organisms, and especially those that were captured from field populations, transfer to other studies, adoption by zoos, museums, or individuals, and/or repatriation into the wild should be considered.
(2) Transfer to other studies
In many cases, at the completion of studies, animals retain value for continued research. The IACUC should be receptive to the transfer of healthy valuable organisms both within and between institutions for the purposes of continued study. This is especially important from the standpoint of reducing the need to collect animals from the wild. Such transfers should be accompanied by full documentation and should adhere to applicable local, State and National laws governing possession and transfer of reptiles and amphibians. Appropriate quarantines should be applied (Jacobson, 1993; Woodford, 2001).
In many cases, healthy animals retain significant educational value and can be constructively donated for adoption by zoos, museums, and even private individuals that support educational or captive breeding programs.