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Where the  Wild Things Are

Lebanon Woman’s Basement Is Reptile Rescue Group’s Home

  • A female chameleon recently adopted by Christina Hazelton, of Lebanon, founder of Upper Valley Reptile Group, is shown off to the public during an open house in Norwich. (Valley News - Libby March)

    A female chameleon recently adopted by Christina Hazelton, of Lebanon, founder of Upper Valley Reptile Group, is shown off to the public during an open house in Norwich. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Christina Hazelton walks into her basement to feed some of the reptiles she keeps at her Lebanon home. Hazelton is the founder of the Upper Valley Reptile Group and keeps most of the rescued reptiles in her own home because the group does not yet have a place of its own. Current residents include four ball pythons, a red-tail boa, a baby corn snake, four iguanas and several turtles and tortoises. (Valley News - Libby March)

    Christina Hazelton walks into her basement to feed some of the reptiles she keeps at her Lebanon home. Hazelton is the founder of the Upper Valley Reptile Group and keeps most of the rescued reptiles in her own home because the group does not yet have a place of its own. Current residents include four ball pythons, a red-tail boa, a baby corn snake, four iguanas and several turtles and tortoises. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Christina Hazelton holds up a tortoise to show Bronwen Lewis, of Hanover, and her granddaughter, Harper Lewis, 3, at River Road Veterinary Clinic in Norwich. In addition to her job as an Apple technician at Systems Plus Computers, Hazelton works part time at the clinic as a receptionist and vet tech. (Valley News - Libby March)

    Christina Hazelton holds up a tortoise to show Bronwen Lewis, of Hanover, and her granddaughter, Harper Lewis, 3, at River Road Veterinary Clinic in Norwich. In addition to her job as an Apple technician at Systems Plus Computers, Hazelton works part time at the clinic as a receptionist and vet tech. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • A female iguana hangs by one foot, stretching down to reach her food in her enclosure in Christina Hazelton’s basement. Hazelton said iguanas are one of the most common pets rescued by the group, since they require much more care than people expect when they get them as pets. (Valley News - Libby March)

    A female iguana hangs by one foot, stretching down to reach her food in her enclosure in Christina Hazelton’s basement. Hazelton said iguanas are one of the most common pets rescued by the group, since they require much more care than people expect when they get them as pets. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Christina Hazelton holds her 15-year-old Burmese python, Levi, at home. She has had Levi for about 10 years now. (Valley News - Libby March)

    Christina Hazelton holds her 15-year-old Burmese python, Levi, at home. She has had Levi for about 10 years now. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Christina Hazelton kisses to her blue and gold macaw, Chica, at home in Lebanon. She has had Chica for about two years now, originally as a foster pet, but she decided to keep her. "I fell in love with her," said Hazelton about her bird. "Her personality was such a good fit." (Valley News - Libby March)

    Christina Hazelton kisses to her blue and gold macaw, Chica, at home in Lebanon. She has had Chica for about two years now, originally as a foster pet, but she decided to keep her. "I fell in love with her," said Hazelton about her bird. "Her personality was such a good fit." (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • A female chameleon recently adopted by Christina Hazelton, of Lebanon, founder of Upper Valley Reptile Group, is shown off to the public during an open house in Norwich. (Valley News - Libby March)
  • Christina Hazelton walks into her basement to feed some of the reptiles she keeps at her Lebanon home. Hazelton is the founder of the Upper Valley Reptile Group and keeps most of the rescued reptiles in her own home because the group does not yet have a place of its own. Current residents include four ball pythons, a red-tail boa, a baby corn snake, four iguanas and several turtles and tortoises. (Valley News - Libby March)
  • Christina Hazelton holds up a tortoise to show Bronwen Lewis, of Hanover, and her granddaughter, Harper Lewis, 3, at River Road Veterinary Clinic in Norwich. In addition to her job as an Apple technician at Systems Plus Computers, Hazelton works part time at the clinic as a receptionist and vet tech. (Valley News - Libby March)
  • A female iguana hangs by one foot, stretching down to reach her food in her enclosure in Christina Hazelton’s basement. Hazelton said iguanas are one of the most common pets rescued by the group, since they require much more care than people expect when they get them as pets. (Valley News - Libby March)
  • Christina Hazelton holds her 15-year-old Burmese python, Levi, at home. She has had Levi for about 10 years now. (Valley News - Libby March)
  • Christina Hazelton kisses to her blue and gold macaw, Chica, at home in Lebanon. She has had Chica for about two years now, originally as a foster pet, but she decided to keep her. "I fell in love with her," said Hazelton about her bird. "Her personality was such a good fit." (Valley News - Libby March)

Lebanon — Christina Hazelton has always been crazy about reptiles. As a kid growing up in Thetford, she was a self-described “dinosaur nerd” and enjoyed catching the garter snakes that lived in the stone wall behind her family’s house. Today, the Lebanon resident is president of the Upper Valley Reptile Group, a nonprofit she founded a few years ago. The group, run entirely by volunteers, is dedicated to educating the public about reptiles and other exotic pets, as well as rescuing reptiles and pets that have been abused or abandoned. And since the group does not yet have its own facility, Hazelton has devoted her own house to reptile care. Her basement is home to six snakes, including four ball pythons, a red-tail boa, and a baby corn snake, as well as four iguanas and several turtles and tortoises. She treats them as her own and spends an hour or two each day caring for them, but they are all are up for adoption. Upstairs, she has her own small menagerie of pets, including a Burmese python, a blue and gold macaw, a dog, two cats, several fish, a tegu lizard, a crested gecko and a chameleon. “They’re like my family,” said Hazelton.