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Boas and ferrets and lizards, oh my! Vermonters share exotic pet stories

a bright yellow bearded dragon sits atop denim-bedecked legs, appearing to smile at the camera
Natalie Redmond
Natalie Redmond
Colchester resident Natalie Redmond named her bearded dragon Gene, who is 6 months old, after her favorite character form the TV show "Bob's Burgers." He currently gets most of his nutrients from roaches, crickets and worms.

Boa constrictors, bearded dragons, hedgehogs. For some Vermonters, the definition of a pet goes beyond the mainstream cat and dog. This hour, we’ll talk about exotic pets.

Catherine Côté-Verville
Catherine Côté-Verville
Catherine Côté-Verville lives in Essex with her husband, two dogs, a gecko and more than 40 snakes. This is one of their snakes, a Mexican black king snake.

We hear from Vermonters who are taking animal husbandry to the next level, with pet pythons and other creatures that many wouldn’t want to see in nature, let alone their living room. We'll also hear from a Williston vet who specializes in the care of exotic pets—everything from birds and reptiles to small mammals like hamsters, which are called "pocket pets."

In Vermont, law requires people wishing to purchase, possess, import, sell, exhibit or breed a pet or animal to first determine if a permit is required.

Our guests are:

  • Catherine Côté-Verville, an Essex resident who, with her husband, has 40-plus snakes, a gecko and two dogs
  • Dr. Jordan Adair, exotic pets veterinarian at Burlington Emergency & Veterinary Specialists in Williston
  • Natalie Redmond, a Colchester resident and guardian of Gene, a 6-month-old bearded dragon

Broadcast live at noon on Friday, March 3, 2023.

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Mikaela Lefrak joined Vermont Public in 2021 as co-host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Tedra joined Vermont Public as a producer for Vermont Edition in January 2022. Before moving to Vermont, she was a journalist in New York City for 20 years. She has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University.