Eighteen-year-old Corbin Maxey, otherwise known as "The Reptile Guy," started rescuing reptiles and founded the Cyprus Hill Reptile Reserve at the age of 12 to provide a home to rescued, injured, unwanted, and abused reptiles. A nonprofit organization, this reptile reserve provides a permanent home for some amazing reptiles that, in turn, become animal ambassadors, representing their wild counterparts to the public. Corbin Maxey's animals educate thousands of people each year through educational outreach programs. Here's some information about a few of his favorites.
Scooter the Green Iguana
Scooter came to Corbin one cold January night, skinny and full of parasites. His old owners won him at a local carnival where he and several other iguanas were being given away as prizes. The sad thing is that most people don't know how to properly take care of a 6-foot-long lizard that requires a huge amount of space, time, and devotion. But now Scooter is Corbin's No. 1 animal ambassador. Scooter's unique name came from his old owners.
Tinkerbelle the Tortoise
Tinkerbelle has quite an interesting story: Unfortunately, like most large tortoises we see in captivity, Tinkerbelle was caught in the wild and put in the pet trade. She escaped her old owner's house and was found trying to cross a major interstate during rush hour, and now she is considered a princess at the Cyprus Hill Reptile Reserve. Tinkerbelle got her name from her previous owner.
Spike the Bearded Dragon
One hot August afternoon, Corbin was heading home when he received a call from a woman who said someone had dropped off a 5-foot-long iguana on her doorstep. This 5-foot iguana turned out to be Spike, a prickly bearded dragon.
Soni the Alligator
Like all of Corbin's animals, alligators are sold as pets. People don't realize that cute little baby alligators will turn into 500-plus-pound creatures that will eat animals the size of a dog. When Corbin found Soni, the reptile had gotten too big for his owners house and was literally living in someone's room, where he didn't have an adequate amount of water in which to even submerge. Soni's original name was Sonic, but since it reminded Corbin of Sonic fast food, he changed it to Soni.
Shere Khan the Python
Shere Khan came to Corbin's reptile reserve in the fall of 2004. His owners abandoned the snake in their old apartment without food or water for over a month. Unfortunately, he is covered in scars where he was trying to escape under the apartment door. But, like all of Corbin's animals, Shere Khan's story has a happy ending: Now at more than 12 feet long, Shere Khan is the longest and heaviest resident at the Cyprus Hill Reptile Reserve.
For more information about Corbin Maxey and the Cyprus Hill Reptile Reserve, visit thereptileguy.com.