Our ambassadors are animals within our organization that serve educational purpose.
They exhibit physical or health complications that can be used to educate on proper care of the species. They may also exhibit behavioral characteristics that cover a range of what we would expect from the species. This is all used to better expand the knowledge of the general public as to what one might expect when owning these exotic animals.
We share the stories of our ambassadors so that we might be able to learn from them and better our own husbandry.
Argentine Black-and-White Tegu (Salvator merianae)
Having come from a rough past, Cynder has certainly made a complete turnaround within our care. Although we do not have much information on her history, she is estimated to be between 5 - 7 years old.
Cynder came into the rescue through an Animal Control drug bust. She had been kept in a small dog carrier covered in her own feces. Deemed aggressive and unable to be handled by authorities, she came into Archie's Angels seeking a safe & quiet place. After she had some time to decompress and understand that she would not be moved to another home, Cynder's true personality began to shine through as a lovable, slightly timid tegu. Cynder has been apart of our rescue for two years.
Learn more about Black-and-White Tegus here.
Northern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)
One of our oldest residents, Angus embodies the stereotype of "grumpy, old man." He is 24 years old, having resided with President & Founder, Raija Hansen, for almost
10 years. He was given to Raija from someone who was moving off to college and could not take him with, and he has been serving as an educational ambassador ever since! Although Angus does not attend many public programs in his older age, he will still occasionally make an appearance at shorter events!
Learn more about Common Bluetongues here.
Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)
President Raija's first reptile, Oz served as an eye-opening experience into the world of herpetology. Raija adopted him from a local pet store over
10 years ago and he still resides with her today.
You might find Oz sitting on Raija's shoulder at our educational programs. He is very familiar with the public and tolerates handling very well. When he is not educating others, he watches over the founder's deskwork to ensure operations are running smoothly.
Learn more about Leopard Geckos here.
THOSE WHO HAVE MOVED ON.
Life cannot go on forever. It is an unfortunate occurrence that we see far too often within a rescue. Featured here are previous ambassadors & their stories who have spent years educating within our community. They have served an educational honor with great respect, and even in their passing, we strive to learn from their experience.
Don't forget to read about Archie's story, the namesake of our rescue.
Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus)
Chiana came to us as the result of a relationship breakup. Left in an apartment in a 55 gallon fish tank, a good samaritan relinquished her to Raija & her mother, Kim, shortly after they had lost Archie. She was full of energy and had the same great personality Archie had. Approximately 1 year before she passed, she became ravenous, eating yet continuously lost weight. After numerous amounts of treatment, Dr. Wolfe was able to tack down the problem - a parasitic tapeworm that had settled and grown within Chiana's digestive tract. She had successfully passed the parasite, but even after her continuous treatment, Chiana's body began to shut down. She was hospitalized on aggressive supportive care with Dr. Wolfe for 1 week before she passed.
Chiana served 3 years as an Archie's Angels ambassador. She lives on as the face on our banner & business cards.
Learn more about Savannah Monitors here.
Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)
On March 16th, 2019, we received a notice. Three days prior, an Asian Water Monitor came into an emergency hospital in critical condition, said to have been violently regurgitating his food, was non-ambulatory, experiencing weakness, lethargy, and torticollis (twitching & writhing; twisting neck to either side). He was under aggressive medical management with the hospital before we were contacted, and it was on that day in March 2019 that Suka came into our care. The vet did not expect him to live past three months after he was admitted to our rescue.
Veterinary examination revealed that Suka suffered from MBD (metabolic bone disease), muscle degeneration, & improper husbandry. He had been kept in temperatures too low to properly metabolize food, and was not given the proper lighting for heat or UV. He was severely stunted at a length of 3 feet, whereas an adult male water monitor his age could reach a potential of 8 feet. He was estimated between 8 - 10 years old when he came to us.
Suka underwent aggressive supportive care with us, consisting of daily feedings of Oxbow Animal Health Carnivore Care, calcium injections to help his bones, and daily therapy to help him regain muscle mass. Dr. Sarah Wolfe had seen him time and time again to assess Suka's progress.
Three years later, Suka had completely turned around & looked to be a different animal. During that time, he learned that he could jump, swim, and that he absolutely loved people. He served as an ambassador with Archie's Angels during this time, traveling to places such as Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, Great Lakes Pet Expo, BluePearl Pet Hospital, and most notably University of Wisconsin-Madison (most of you might recognize the video we share during speeches of a student searching for Suka's heartbeat with the doppler).
On March 20th, 2022, we found Suka resting peacefully atop his favorite log, having passed in his sleep. Only expected to have lived no more than three months once admitted, Suka exceeded the odds & lived three years more.
Learn more about Asian Water Monitors here.
Frilled Dragon (Chlamydosaurus kingii)
At the age of 7 years, Gideon came to us after his previous home grew disinterested in him. Having been kept in an environment designed for an arid reptile rather than that of a tropical one, his body suffered many health conditions such as MBD (metabolic bone disease) and hemipenal prolapse. His body was contorted due to the lack of calcium in his body, leaving his head abnormally large and his tail broken and crookedly healed in three separate locations. Half of his frill became necrotic due to a burn and was removed to prevent further damage to his body.
His body began to slow down with age, leading to a decreased diet and water intake before his organs began to shut down. He passed sleeping in his favorite hammock.
Although Gideon was not fond of crowds, he did make several appearances at smaller educational programs at schools. As his health began to decline, he lived out the rest of his days within the president & founder's home.
Learn more about Frilled Lizards here.
Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
Having suffered from a tragic past, Bug has overcome the odds and serves as one of our greatest success stories yet. Her exact age is unknown.
Having come to us in a shoe box, Bug - along with two other bearded dragons - were in critical condition. We were told she had been attacked by another animal (suspected to be feline due to the injuries), and because of that, Bug was entirely blind in one eye and missing the other. Unable to hunt for her own prey, Bug needed to be spoon- and tong-fed to keep her body going. Dr. Sarah Wolfe was able to reveal that the scar tissue on the left side of her face hid a globe beneath. Bug underwent ocular surgery and
Dr. Wolfe was successfully able to restore part of the damaged eyelid to allow her to see light & shadow once more.
Learn more about Central Bearded Dragons here.