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Cooperative Care for Horses

Posted by on May 23, 2023 at 6:10 PM

 Cooperative care means that animals are taught to voluntarily participate in their own care and training.

Use of cooperative care with equines means that horses are taught to actively participate in their own care. Through positive reinforcement techniques horses are taught to allow things like grooming, hoof trimming and shoeing, medical procedures, and deworming without force or restraint. These are voluntary behaviors the horses learn to allow, or consent to, in order to earn r...

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Complex Habitats or Rack Systems for Captive Snakes?

Posted by on February 1, 2022 at 4:55 PM

Complex Habitats or Rack Systems for Captive Snakes?


Reptile owners and breeders engage in an on-going debate as to whether snakes should be kept in environmentally complex enclosures or racks. My opinion, based on information in the scientific literature, on personal observations of snakes at our facility when given preference tests, and considering anecdotal stories and observations from caretakers is that keeping snakes in tubs with no access to natural (or simulated nat...

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Things that Stress Snake: Myth or Fact?

Posted by on May 12, 2021 at 1:15 AM

I have answered several questions about the myths common in snake keeping about "handling before and after feeding" and this or that "stressing the snake so not to do it" such as feeding out of the enclosure, giving them too large an enclosure, or things like "it stresses snake to be out of their cage", etc. These are not based on behavior science or what we know about stress and how it works. These may be true for specific individuals; however, they cannot be applied to all sn...

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Helping Horses say Goodbye

Posted by on November 21, 2020 at 12:40 AM

Animal Behavior: Helping Horses say Goodbye

Lori A. Torrini, Director

Spirit Keeper Equine Sanctuary 501c3


We all have a story. Our horses have stories. There is a beginning of the story when they are born and experience safety and security with their mothers, the joy of play with other foals, and learning how to interact with conspecifics. There is the middle of the story when they leave their mother or original herd mates to live a life at the whim of humans. ...

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Notes and Peer Reviewed Resources on Snake Training, Brains, and Cognition

Posted by on August 30, 2020 at 4:45 AM

Notes and Resources on Snake (and other reptiles) Training, Brains and Cognition

When I decided to share my home with snakes again after more than twenty years without one I took on that responsibility with an understanding of animal behavior and training that I did not have the first time. From years of education in behavior science and the laws governing how animals learn to many years of hands-on experience training animals, I ventured into snake keeping with an interest in r...

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Are Snakes being Overlooked as the Perfect Pet?

Posted by on June 16, 2020 at 7:20 PM

Snakes as Family Part One:

Are Snakes being overlooked as the Perfect Pet Family Members?

As an animal trainer, director of an animal sanctuary, and someone who has shared a home with animals their whole life I am always surprised by people who do not...

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Enclosures? Let the snake Choose

Posted by on March 12, 2020 at 6:20 PM


I have recently heard discussions on a few podcasts regarding enclosure types. Why debate this subject when we can turn to the animals to tell us what they want? We humans think we know what is best for our snake, sometimes we have valid reasons and other times we are making assumptions without empirical facts. What I am not hearing as part of these enclosure discussions is that it should come down to what the animals prefer. Watching their behavior when housed in ...

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Follow-Up from the Morelia Python Radio Interview

Posted by on July 10, 2019 at 4:05 AM

I was fortunate to be able to share some of my training and behavior work with snakes on" target="_blank">Morelia Python Radio (MPR) Tuesday, July 9, 2019. Eric Burke sent me a list of EXCELLENT questions ahead of time and I knew there was no way we would make it through all of them in just 2 hours because there is just so much to cover in regards to snake cognition, behavior, welf...

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bredli behavior study update 6/30/2019

Posted by on June 30, 2019 at 6:25 PM


Update: Behavior study of Morelia bredli under human care

30 June 2019

The study currently involves 10 animals hatched in 2018 and 7 older animals hatched between 2014 – 2017. The most recent animals were added on 15 May 2019. I feel that 10 animals all the same age is a good sample size to start for comparison and cataloguing of behaviors. They, in addition to the 7 older animals, should give us an overall picture of what behaviors M. bredli spend most of...

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Morelia bredli captive behavior study

Posted by on May 12, 2019 at 6:35 AM

Bredli Behavior Study: Update 1

I tracked the activity of 14 individual Morelia bredli, 8 females and 6 males, ages 8 months to nearly 5 years old over two 12-hour periods. The first was between 5:00 pm and 5:00 am (1700 – 0500 hours) on May 10, 2019 – May 11, 2019. The second was between 11:30 am and 11:30 pm (1130 – 2330 hours) on May 11, 2019. An ethogram was filled out for each animal at 30-minute intervals.

The purpose of this was to test the methodology fo...

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