W von Papinešu
at Sat Jun 24 12:35:05 2006 [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]
CLAY COUNTY LINE (Orange Park, Florida) 21 June 06 Reptile man not only rescues, he educates (Christy Whitehead)
Most people don't run to the rescue of a rattlesnake. But that's exactly what Jason Hoffman did.
Hoffman, who runs Hollywood Reptiles, a wildlife education and reptile rescue company, searched the Jacksonville area before settling on a house in Middleburg with two acres.
Big enough for his close to 60 animals, including two tortoises that grow to more than 200 pounds, 15 types of rattlesnakes, and three alligators.
One of Hoffman's first calls when he arrived to the area last October was a rattlesnake in someone's driveway.
He rushed over to rescue it, but the homeowner decided to run over the snake.
Hoffman caught the partially crushed snake and rushed it to the Riverside Animal Hospital, which specializes in reptiles and snakes.
Unfortunately the snake could not be saved.
He also likes to entertain and has even wrangled animals for eight movies (all Spanish), three television programs and a photo shoot with supermodel Cindy Margolis.
He has appeared on several news programs and on Totally Pets for Animal Planet and wrangled reptiles for a movie of the week on the Hallmark Channel starring Lindsay Wagner.
On a recent day, Hoffman was at the vet with a different kind of reptile. Lucky, a 3 1/2-foot alligator, lounged with his neck on Hoffman's shoulder, his mouth opened to what appeared to be a broken-toothed smile.
Alligators are illegal to have as pets, and Lucky was rescued in California before being airmailed to Hoffman.
Between the previous owner's care and the subsequent trip to Florida, Lucky was looking pretty ragged.
After an exam and X-rays, Lucky's main problem is revealed: he has muscular bone deficiency. Lucky gets a shot and some antibiotics to take home.
The bill came to more than $80. Hoffman had a presentation to make later in the day for a group of Boy Scouts and said community presentations help pay for the upkeep and care of the animals. And he hopes the shows and presentations will help make the public more educated about the animals in their own backyard.
Hoffman had never been to Jacksonville when he moved to the area, but said he just knew he wanted to be in Florida and near a large city.
"Jacksonville was the best place for the money," he said.
Liz Shumaker is secretary of the Jacksonville Herpetological Society. She said that since Hoffman has arrived she has started calling him every time they get a call of a venomous snake, because he has a permit to handle them.
Hoffman is looking for volunteers to assist him. Hollywood Reptiles can be contacted by phone at 254-9245, or on the Web at www.HollywoodReptiles.com.
Reptile control. Area reptile education and/or removal services:
Absolute Animal Control, 838-1150
Hollywood Reptiles, 254-9245
Reptile Rescue, Jacksonville Herpetological Society, 918-0544.
Reptile man not only rescues, he educates
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