Where the Wild Things Are

Sunday, May 05, 2013
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.

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