Our Story

Hands on Exotics specializes in the care of exotic species and educating the public about animals. Seth started Hands on Exotics in 2011 with his dog Opie, Zoe the macaw, and Peanut the lizard. In an effort to enrich the lives of his animals and socialize them on a regular basis, he volunteered his time by bringing them to the residents of local senior’s homes. This turned out to not only be a positive experience for the animals, but also for the residents of these homes. The care providers had never seen their residents light up as much as they did during these animal visits!

Along the way Seth met many people and families who had animals that needed a new home. He realized that, while there are many animal shelters and facilities that take in dogs and cats, there are very few who can take in exotic animals like parrots, reptiles, and exotic mammals. And unfortunately, many individuals realize too late how much responsibility an exotic pet may be! He found a need to educate people responsible pet ownership and to use his resources to help re-home animals in need.

Hands on Exotics does not currently receive public funding. The care of our animals is made possible entirely by the funds from these services and donations as well as the support of our amazing volunteers.

Our Mission

Our mission at Hands on Exotics is two-fold:

  • To raise awareness for conservation issues and responsible pet ownership through positive interactions between people and animals.
  • To use our resources to help animals that may need to be re-homed and other wildlife and conservation initiatives

We realize this mission in three main ways:

  1. We conduct outreach programs facilitating interactive and educational experiences with our program animals

We provide fun, positive hands-on presentations that help educate the public and dispel myths and fears about animals. We believe that meeting and interacting with animals up-close in person enhances learning and fosters a great respect for wildlife. In this way, we can impart knowledge on responsible animal husbandry as many exotic animals are obtained as pets without enough  understanding of their required care. We also like to discuss wildlife conservation issues and empower individuals to help, whether it be from a ‘backyard conservation’ level to a global scale.

“No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced”
– David Attenborough

  1. We visit nursing homes, special needs groups, and other day programs with our animals to provide a mentally and physically enriching experience

The pet therapy program at Hands on Exotics currently visits nearly 300 nursing homes, retirement homes, autism groups, blind-and-deaf groups, and other special needs groups annually! The relationship between humans and animals can have a strong therapeutic effect through unique visual, auditory and tactile stimulation. Our animals get cuddles and attention while bringing smiles to the participants’ faces!

  1. We provide monetary and time donations to help rescue and re-home animals in need and to help other wildlife conservation causes

We are also able to use the funds from our outreach programs to help organizations and causes that are in line with our mission and also to re-home animals by providing transport, medical care, temporary housing, and finding them a new home or permanently adopting them ourselves. Click here to learn the initiatives we’re involved with!