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One day I was sitting in a reptile shop and a gentleman came in who was very excited to get a Sulcata Tortoise. He was getting it for his daughter who wanted something that would require less work than her Red-Eared Sliders which she got rid of. That alone is a red flag, but the questions I overheard this gentleman ask about the animal let me know that he not only knew nothing about the animal he was about to purchase, but he knew little or nothing about keeping reptiles in general. When he was finished asking his questions, he put a tortoise on hold until he could get the money and left. As he walked out, he grabbed his old, rusty shopping cart he had been keeping his possessions in and walked down the street.

I had always known that many people buy pets without being fully prepared for them, and this causes problems for the pets and their owners, but when I saw a Sulcata (a relatively high-maintenance animal), purchased by a man who keeps his belongings in a shopping cart, for a girl who wanted a pet she wouldn't have to take care of, I really realized how badly the odds are stacked against some of our scaly friends.

All over the nation, animal rescue and adoption centers are filled with unwanted or abandoned animals, some are kept in inadequate circumstances until they die, and still others are simply released into fields or hills where they either die anyways or wreak havoc on local ecosystems.

For the average animal sold in pet stores, their chances sometimes don't seem too good. Their fate is uncertain, but if you are reading this, you have the power to turn the scales in their favor.