Reptile Mountain, LLC is my "small-batch" reptile business. My goal is to produce premium captive bred Australian Blue Tongue Skinks (Tiliqua scincoides ssp.) and other uncommon reptiles for future generations of enthusiasts to enjoy using evidence based, welfare oriented, progressive practices.
"Small-batch is intentionally limited and specifically artisanal. In reptile care that means time and energy is driven by nature's example."
The methods by which a breeder provides captive management matters not only for the breeding stock and offspring produced, but also for the ethical outlook for private keeping as a whole. Therefore, I've intentionally chosen to direct my business toward optimal care. I believe that my past, present, and future customers recognize this choice.
Here are a few examples of my amazingly awesome recent and repeat customers of Reptile Mountain™: Wildlife Biologists, AZA Zoo Directors, Veterinarians, Professional Herpetologists, Fellow Breeders, and many amazing Welfare Oriented Private Enthusiasts from every walk of life.
When I say QUALITY, I mean it! The care and energy put into my breeding group is top of the line. My animals are managed with:
Artificial Sunlight (best on the market)
Linear T5 HO UVA/UVB light
Halogen basking heat (IRa and IRb)
Several modalities of enrichment
Sensory / Novel
Very basic operant conditioning
Highest quality diverse foods
Enclosures nearly twice the size of the industry standard
I am always working toward my goal of creating optimal welfare for my animals (see figure below). I have a long term strategic plan to significantly increase enclosure size, improve enrichment, refine nutrition, and expand my choice based care. My goal is to never cease improving.
I'm a retired US Army Chaplain (Airborne), former professional AZA zookeeper (reptiles), and a small-batch breeder with over 30 years of experience working with reptiles. I've been blessed to have traveled to 22 countries, lived on 3 continents, and managed captive reptiles in multiple climates. All of which has helped me develop a diversified perspective on husbandry.
Although, I'm best known for skinks, my deepest passion rests with Rattlesnakes of the Colorado Plateau and other small montane Crotalids (Article). I also truly love montane chameleons and nearly all Australian herpetofauna.
Today I am so grateful for the world class training and incredible opportunities I received when I was a pro zookeeper which I took for granted at the time. Now, much older and a bit wiser, I intend to pay it forward.
All that being said, I am always eager to learn, especially as new welfare concepts and technologies progress reptile management to the next level. Thankfully, I love exchanging ideas with fellow keepers and learning from veteran pros.
For a brief time in the early 2000's I had a very small business called TCH Zoological which received great reviews.
Thanks so much,
Some of My Reptile Related Publications:
HOUSTON, T. (2006). The Midget Faded Rattlesnake, Crotalus concolor. Reptilia (GB). (45): 33-37.
HOUSTON, T. (2008). Ophioghagy in A Captive Sonoran Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes cercobombus). Southwestern Ctr Herptol. Research [Web App] http://www.southwesternherp.com/articles/ophioghagybysidewinder.html
HOUSTON, T. (2019). Hard Labour: A Brief Note on a Prolonged Parturition Event in a Captive Northern Blue-Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia). iHerp Australia, Vol 13 (Jul/Aug): pp. 24-27. Available online at https://view.joomag.com/iherp-australia-issue-13/0023855001559687165/p24?short
I further believe that as a business working with wildlife, it is important to support environmentally sustainable procedures within my operations. Therefore, I use as many eco-friendly or green practices as possible. My animals are not the cheapest on the market, in part, because I have opted to ensure animal welfare and our planet's future comes first.
My Guidelines of Operation
For Transfers see Terms & Conditions
I care for these animals because I love them. They are God's creatures not mine. I get to care for them, help them reproduce, and give others the opportunity to enjoy them as well. All of my animals, including the ones I part with, are an extension of my passion for wildlife.
1) Animal welfare comes first, second, and third
2) I provide consultation support for the lifetime of my animals
3) I guarantee my animals' health for 180 days past the time of transfer (Health Guarantee Details)
4) I sell captive bred animals for pets and breeders. I do not sell wild caught animals of any kind for pets
5) I highly value animal welfare, therefore I will never knowingly deal with wildlife traders that during operations commit inhumane treatment of animals
6) I also highly value wildlife conservation and therefore, I will never knowingly contribute to the exploitation of wild populations nor support operations that harvest wild caught "at risk" species (ie. ICUN Red List NT, VU, EN, CR etc.)
7) With regard to imported wildlife, I will only work with animals that were legally imported and have valid documentation from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
8) I support species integrity and therefore do not support hybridization of any species and will not knowingly transfer to or buy from anyone who has intentionally bred hybrids or supports such behavior
9) I support animal care stability and therefore do not support "flipping" animals (when someone buys low and sells high to make money). I will not knowingly transfer to or buy from "animal flippers"
10) I reserve the right to refuse transfer for any animal welfare or legally based reason
11) I only work with quality genetic breeding stock and seek every opportunity to reduce or eliminate inbreeding. I aim to maximize genetic diversity within the species and subspecies I manage
12) I work with uncommon and difficult to obtain species. I refuse to breed species that are overrepresented in the reptile community/market
13) Many living creatures carry Salmonella including reptiles (Blue Tongue Skinks). Wash your hands after handling your reptile(s) and ensure young children do the same.