Where our Animals Come From

We are not quite like a regular animal shelter in that we care for exotic animals and we do not house lots of animals waiting to be adopted to a new home. The histories of our animals are varied while some are ex-pets, others may have come to us as working animals elsewhere or as educational animals in general. Wherever possible, we help find new homes for animals whose owners couldn’t take care of them anymore or were seized by SPCA.

If the animal has no where else to go and/or they are suitable for our outreach program, then we may take them in ourselves as well. For example, we took in a toucan over a year ago that was terrified of people. But we took it in because it was in bad shape and our vet at the time said that if we didn’t it would probably not survive in its current home. There are extremely few people and facilities with any experience with this kind of animal. Since this was an animal that was not appropriate for educational or pet therapy programs we were happy to find it a new home at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls after a long search for a proper home and a lot of expense on our part to take care of it for a year.

Our Animal Care Standards

Hands on Exotics is Ministry of Natural Resources licensed and OSPCA inspected. Hands on Exotics happily exceeds industry standards for animal care and welfare. We take pride in providing a high level of care that includes everything from veterinary-approved diets based on current scientific research, ample space for the animals to play and exercise, and providing environmental enrichment designed to meet each species unique behavioral needs.

Our program animals are carefully selected for both their temperament and safety – we only bring out animals that enjoy human interaction. It is strictly against our policies to use an animal for outreach programs that would be stressed by traveling or human interaction. None of this would be possible without keeping our animals happy and healthy with our strict animal care standards involving:

  • Infection control protocols
  • Access to an exotic animal veterinarian
  • Proper vaccinations
  • Parasite screening via fecal tests
  • Handlers and animal care staff trained to recognize act appropriately to any signs of stress or health issues
  • Regular OSPCA (twice/year inspections) and MNR inspections (yearly license renewal and inspections) to ensure the welfare, health, and safety of all of our animals
  • And much, much more