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Snakes and Iguanas and Tortoises...Oh My

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Many people around Snook call one house, "The Sanctuary." Yes, it looks like a normal house, but inside are about 75 reasons why it's a jungle inside.

It seems normal enough. There's a dog, a cat and a rabbit. And if you've got a hare, you've got to have a tortoise...and some iguanas...and giant boa constrictor.

OK, so it's not that normal in the house.

"I like to think we're put on this earth to do something," said reptile rescuer Teresa Shisk. "I kind of think I've found my niche in trying to educate people."

To be clear, Teresa Shisk's dozens of reptiles don't run wild through her house. But they do get plenty love and care from a woman who's been rescuing reptiles since 1989. Who would have thought one hurt iguana brought to her San Antonio clinic would lead to her caring for 32. Teresa says many people who buy a reptile don't know how to properly care for it.

"They see something," Shisk said. "It's cute. It's inexpensive. It's different. And they don't stop and think."

So Teresa has become Mom to some very scaly children, including one small pride and joy. A snake of a crossbred litter named Ms. Aggie is so-called because of her maroon and while colors, and the distinct white "A" on her head. Teresa and her partner use the snakes to get future vets acclimated to cold-blooded pets.

"Because she's so unique, people that don't like snakes, are afraid of snakes, and have never been around a snake are willing to at least try because she's so small and she's so unique," said Shisk.

"We're hoping to do some interbreeding and maybe produce more of her," said Frank Saling, Shisk's partner and a field herpetologist. "I don't think it will happen. I think it's just something unique that nature produced. But you never know, maybe it will."

Although Ms. Reveille might not have much competition in a snake, Ms. Aggie's biggest feuds are with her brother, who came out orange and white.

Draw your own conclusions.

Teresa's pride and joy, though, is slightly bigger: Ms. Bea, a boa constrictor.

"She's very gentle," said Shisk. "She's very docile. She doesn't necessarily teach people to love snakes, but to at least tolerate them and give them a chance."