The History of RARN

Reptile and Amphibian Rescue Network (RARN) is the creation of former Southwestern Herpetologists Society (SWHS) members, including now-retired RARN president Diane Lee. The adoption committee of SWHS was frustrated at the amount of reptiles and amphibians being brought in that were too ill, injured, or otherwise compromised to be easily adopted. The founding members envisioned creating a separate organization to devote special attention to these animals that were falling through the cracks. A nonprofit organization such as RARN would address this gap, letting Los Angeles-based SWHS focus on taking in the numerous healthy animals that were easy to place.

In the mid-1980s, RARN was formally organized and began steering stray, abandoned, sick, and injured reptiles and amphibians into RARN's network of volunteers. People would rehab these creatures, some perilously ill or hurt, some less so, for placement in loving homes. For decades the organization has continued to find people willing to help heal and nurture these wonderful, interesting animals, or simply donate money or resources to foster the cause. RARN's other mission involves educating the public about the best kind of reptiles and amphibians to keep as companions, and how to keep them responsibly.

Over the years, RARN has taken in a number of animals that have clearly shown the need for such a rescue group. These included "Yard," a box turtle who had lost a foot and was consequently three-footed, and Sunkist, a cornsnake that for many years was RARN's official "Spokes Snake." RARN has exhibited at numerous reptile shows and municipal educational events, and our rehabbed creatures always seem to tug at people's heartstrings. Of course, inevitably some volunteers find that the reptiles or amphibians have curled up in or hopped into their hearts. And so temporary rescue domiciles became forever homes!