A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit
A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit
Our amazing team of volunteers are committed to helping animals. Think you would be a good fit in our nonprofit organization? Contact us.
Our Executive Director, Daniel R. Parrack, Sr., had a dream of helping companion animals. Seeing a need in this area he started
The Ernie Foundation.
Reaching out to help companion animals who are in need. We want to help with vet bills, adoption fees, providing food, the occasional rescue, and helping companion animals live their best life.
This is Armond the Roly-Poly. He was found by Tim F. of Elyria right after a rainstorm.
Armadillidiidae (the scientific name for Roly-Polys) go by many different names such as Armadillo Bugs, Doodle Bugs, Potato Bugs, Pill Bugs, and Roly-Polys. These bugs are found across the U.S., typically in moist areas and around some decaying matter. They are about ¾” long, oval-shaped, and with an armor-like shell. Their shell has seven hard plates, similar to a crayfish. Although they are called a bug, they aren’t an insect at all. They are land-dwelling crustaceans more similar to a lobster than they are to an ant. They are purplish-gray and have seven pairs of legs as well as two jointed antennae. They get their nickname of “roly-poly” because of the way they curl up into a ball when startled or disturbed. They are not harmful to people or pets but may kill small plants by chewing on them. They don't live very long, so we're grateful to Tim for educating us a bit on these bugs, and sharing him with us as our pet of the month.
This section of the website will be dedicated to our success stories.
Our first story is about a precious little girl named Squeaky.
Our Director, Dan Parrack, was on Facebook one evening when he read a post about a lady who had Squeaky and could not keep her, so she was going to have her euthanized if no one would take her. Dan immediately went into action. He contacted the person who made the post and explained to her The Ernie Foundation is not a rescue or a shelter, but we would not let anyone euthanize a healthy, beautiful cat if there was anything we could do to prevent such a horrible act. The woman explained Squeaky was one of three cats owned by her grandfather who had died. Two of the cats had been adopted, but Squeaky remained. She couldn't keep her so she was going to take her to be euthanized. The next day, Dan drove down to Brunswick to meet Squeaky and take her temporarily to his place until he could find a home for her. Squeaky was 14 years old, and just an adorable little lady. She loved to be held, and loved to play. It was only a couple of days later that Dan heard from a lady named Riley who wanted to adopt Squeaky. Now, Squeaky has a beautiful home, and she will be loved and cared for the rest of her life. Her name was changed to Violet and it appears she likes the name.
It was your donations that allowed The Ernie Foundation to care for Squeaky/Violet until she found her forever home. Your donations also paid for her vet bill making sure she was as healthy as she looked. Thank you for your generosity, and keep the donations coming so we can help more companion animals like Squeaky/Violet who are in need.
This story is also a good example as to why your family needs to have a plan in place for the seniors in your life who have pets. If your loved one needs to move into a facility that doesn't allow pets or it they're not able to care for them any longer, you and your family need to have a plan for caring for their companion animals. After all, they are family too.
Interested in a reptile as a companion animal?
Then check out these suggestions from urbanreptiles.com:
These calm and funky-looking chaps are great reptiles to keep as pets. They natively come from Australia but are bred as pets all across the world. They’re quite easy to get hold of and aren’t going to cost you an arm and a leg initially. They’re one of the most popular pet reptiles. Being native to Australia, bearded dragons need a good source of heat to bask in. They eat both insects and plants and move more towards a plant-based diet as they grow older.
Size: The average size of a bearded dragon depends on the species and gender, but usually falls between 15 and 25 inches.
Care: Bearded dragons are relatively hardy species and are easy to care for. They’re a great pet for beginners as they are gentle, small and do not have too many special requirements.
Life expectancy: It’s not uncommon for a bearded dragon to live to the ripe old age of 10. This means you’ll be feeding and caring for them for some time to come.
Cost: Bearded dragons aren’t an expensive reptile to keep. The largest cost, depending on the cost of electricity where you live, is the heating. They need a good heat source and that can add up during all the years they live for.
Leopard geckos come from areas around India and Pakistan, where they live in warm and rocky environments. These geckos love to feed on things like crickets, and mealworms. Unlike many other species of gecko, leopard geckos don’t possess the ability to climb on vertical surfaces. They can be quite the escape artist.
Size: Leopard geckos are relatively large when compared to most other geckos but are still quite small pet reptiles. They grow to be about 7-11 inches.
Care: Leopard geckos are easy to care for and a relatively hardy reptile. They are a very popular pet and they are great for beginners due to the lack of special requirements needed for these pets.
Life expectancy: With a life expectancy of 6-10 years, some make it to be 15 or 20. If they reach the 2-year mark in healthy fashion, they have a good chance of reaching a reasonable age.
Cost: The largest cost is the heat lamp needed to keep your Leopard alive and healthy.
If you’re looking for a good reptile to keep as a pet, then the Russian tortoise is a great option for you. These tortoises are native to Central-Asia and are commonly kept as pets. They love eating fruits and vegetables. Vegetables are their staple food since they provide the highest level of nutrition and usually aren’t too high in sugar. Being reptiles, they are obviously cold-blooded. Russian tortoises do well at normal room temperatures, but a basking spot with overhead heat lamps help them to thermoregulate. They’re actually surprisingly fast once they’re fully warmed up.
Size: When it comes to size, Russian tortoise females are a little larger than males. They generally reach a size of about 8 to 10 inches.
Care: They’re not too hard to care for, but they do come with their own challenges. As long as you do your research then you should be fine when caring for one.
Life expectancy: Russian tortoises can live to the ripe old age of 40. It’s a big decision to get a tortoise and a lot of people tend to go for older tortoises instead of youngsters for this exact reason.
Cost: As with most reptiles, heating is the most expensive cost when it comes to Russian tortoises.
RED EARED SLIDER
These turtles can walk on land just like tortoises, but they swim graciously too and love the water. Red eared sliders are native to Mexico and the south-east United States. They are extremely popular pets all over the world and it’s more than likely that you’ve seen them in someone’s house or pond before. Red eared sliders eat mostly commercial turtle food in captivity, but they love to eat live insects like crickets, mealworms and a whole host of other water and land-based prey. They also eat vegetables and aquatic plants.
Size: These turtles can grow to 12 inches in length. Once they reach that size, they need quite the tank too so be aware of this and make sure you have the space.
Care: Red eared sliders are also relatively easy to care for if you do your research.
Life expectancy: These turtles can reach the age of 20 years. This means you’ll be caring for them and enjoying them way into the future.
Cost: The only extra cost they need compared to other reptiles is a water heating unit. This adds to the electricity bill and can really add up together with a basking light.
Ball pythons are certainly one of the best reptiles to keep as pets when it comes to snakes. They are an extremely popular snake species to keep too, being by far one of the top 2 most kept snakes, along with the corn snake. Ball pythons are native to Africa. They are one of the smallest of pythons in Africa and are extremely beautiful creatures to look at. These snakes make great pets as they have a very docile temperament. Be careful though, snakes are great at finding escape routes out of their enclosure. You should always make sure that your terrarium is “snake-proof” and there are no escape points for them to wriggle out of. Because of their temperament, these snakes are easy to handle. They may feel kind of strange but, once they are used to you, they don’t tend to cause any problems. A ball pythons diet consists mainly of mice and rats. The sizes of the prey animal will vary depending on how old and large the python is.
Size: Ball pythons reach the size of roughly 2 to 5 feet, depending on if it’s a male or a female, and on the genetics of the animal.
Care: As long as you do the proper research before buying your pet ball python, they are easy pets to care for.
Life expectancy: On average, these snakes live to be about 20-30 years in captivity, but there have been cases where they surpass the 40 years. As with most reptiles, these animals are long-lived.
Cost: The price of feeder animals are a bit higher than insectivores, but the heating costs are the same.
CHINESE WATER DRAGON
When you think of good reptile pets, the Chinese water dragon is a reptile that commonly comes up. They are active little fellas who originate from south east Asia. These animals are quite care-intensive, and probably won’t be your first choice if you’re new to reptile keeping. That being said, they are a rewarding reptile to keep. Chinese water dragons eat mostly insects and are avid hunters. However, they do indulge in other food sources like vegetables and fruits. Their staple food is insects though, and that’s the main thing that you’ll be feeding these little dragons.
Size: Water dragons can reach a whole yard in length. This may sound huge, but when you consider that well over half of this length is the tail, it’s not as impressive.
Care: These lizards aren’t extremely difficult to care for but do have some needs that need to be tailored exactly to the animal. If you do your research well, then it’s very doable to keep these animals as pets.
Life expectancy: On average, Chinese water dragons reach about 10-15 years of ages. Some have even lived to 20+ years.
Cost: You will want to look into the costs for feeding and heating.
If you’re looking for a gecko that’s into climbing, then the crested gecko is a great option for you. Crested geckos are one of the largest species of gecko around. They are native to Southern New Caledonia, which is a group of islands in the southwest pacific, off the coast of Australia. Crested geckos are quite the climbers and are a beautiful species of gecko to house as a pet. They eat a mixture of insects and plant based foods like fruits and vegetables. They can be fed a store-bought blend, but it’s recommended to feed them live insects a few times per week too in order to keep them happy and healthy.
Size: Crested geckos can reach up to 10 inches and are one of the larges gecko species. Their tail makes up a large chunk of this length.
Care: Crested geckos are relatively easy to care for and are great for first-time reptile keepers. As long as you do your research on how to care for them properly, you shouldn’t face too many problems in raising a healthy crested gecko.
Life expectancy: Crested geckos can reach 15 years or more if cared for well and they don’t face any health issues. As with all reptiles, it’s always best to think carefully before taking one on as a pet as they tend to live for quite a long time.
Cost: Crested geckos do not need heating as long as they are kept in a heated room so your monthly costs should be very low.
Corn snakes are up there with the ball python when it comes to the best pet snakes. These snakes are native to the United States and are found worldwide as pets. Corn snakes make for great pet reptiles as they look stunning and are calm tempered. These snakes are fine when it comes to handling and don’t have the tendency to bite. They come in a huge variety of different morphs and are hardy snakes to keep as pets. They make good first time snakes for beginners due to the calm temperament and the vast amounts of information there is available on this snake. As with most pet snakes, corn snake’s menu consists mainly of feeder mice. Pre-killed and frozen is preferred, as long as they are thawed before they are fed to your corn snake.
Size: Corn snakes can reach almost 6 feet in length. Despite this, they don’t need a huge terrarium to be comfortable.
Care: Corn snakes are one of the easiest snakes to care for in captivity.
Life expectancy: Corn snakes can live into their twenties. The record for a corn snake is actually 32 years old, so they are long-lived reptiles.
Cost: They need a heat source which will add to the electricity bill on a monthly basis.
As always, check with your vet before deciding which reptile you want. They are the best authority on how to care for your reptile and what their needs will be. Doing research on your own will also answer many questions you may have.
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Thank you for your help.
I've heard a lot of great things about having a reptile as a pet. I know they're not your conventional animal, but I'm interested in owning one. I don't know what kind I'd like because I've never had one before. Do you have an idea of which reptile I should get or which one would be good for a beginner?
Stephanie P., Liverpool, Ohio
I'm not a big fan of reptiles so I don't know which one would be the best for you. I do suggest you talk to a veterinarian for ideas. When you decide on one, research it thoroughly. You'll want to know what kind of habitat to make, how many years do they typically live, how big do they get, what to feed it, etc. It might help if you make a list of questions for your vet. I'm sure they will help you decide on what reptile would be a good fit for you and your lifestyle. Be sure to read our "Fur Your Information" section for some ideas as well. Good luck in your search.
Have a meowvelous day!
Hanky Benny Berkheimer
2012 - 2020
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