From Young Boy to Reptile Organization Leader, Dan Rowe's Journey

By: Zen Habitats

Dan Rowe: Young Reptile Owner to Herpetological Society President

Dan Rowe has come a long way in the reptile world. As a young boy he was an enthusiastic pet owner interested in lizards. Today he leads a large organization that focuses on conservation, education, and the advancement of herpetology.

“It started when I was a little kid,” said Dan. “My dad was in the Navy and we often moved around. My parents didn’t want a cat or dog to move with us every time.” They told him any pet he got had to be in a tank.

He said, “After a couple of hamsters and goldfish, and becoming fascinated by the various snakes, toads and salamanders around the neighborhood, I decided I wanted to get a pet lizard.”

Researching the Perfect Lizard

Dan did his research. “I went to the library many times and researched lizard care. After even more trips to the pet store, I finally got a pet lizard,” he said. Unfortunately, after nine months his lizard became ill despite planning and research.

“When we took it to the veterinarian, they didn’t know anything about reptile care and couldn’t help me,” he said. That experience motivated Dan to learn as much as he could about reptile care and husbandry.

On a Mission and Dan's Continually Learn More

He became very interested in Egernia and continues to learn more about the species so he can help other reptile owners.

“I don't consider myself an expert, I’d say I've gathered a lot of experience caring for many species over the years and enjoy sharing what I learn. This prepared me for keeping and breeding various Egernia,” he said.

Dan works with other interesting lizards including Armadillo Lizards, Sulfur Water Monitors, and True Berber Skinks. One of his favorites, and to him a very underrated lizard, is the Tree-crevice Skink.

The Truly Unique Tree-crevice Skink

According to Dan the most outstanding characteristic of the Tree-crevice skink is that they are very social.

“I really enjoy the fact that they live in a community group and are very inquisitive and social lizards,” he said. “I like watching them interact with each other as they forage for food and how they lazily change basking spots.” Dan has multiple webcams set up in his Zen Habitats enclosures so he can watch them when he is not in his reptile building.

For people not familiar with the many varieties of lizards there is one very unusual characteristic about Tree-crevice Skinks and other Egernia species.

“What surprises people the most is that they have live young,” he said. “You can come in one day to give them food and there are a few more hungry mouths to feed.

Reptile Husbandry for Tree-crevice Skinks

One of the most important measures in caring for a group of Tree-crevice Skinks is to house them in an enclosure that has a considerable amount of stacked cork bark and other layered decorations.

“This allows them to get away from the others and have some alone time if needed. Like any social group, sometimes individuals can have a bad day. If a lizard is getting picked on you want to make sure they have somewhere to get away,” he explained.

Dan continued, “If the animal is constantly bullied, you might need to remove it from the group. They typically do not integrate back in with other existing groups so you might have to make a misfits group or keep them separately as pets.”

He said potential pet owners should consider the Tree-crevice Skink or any Egernia species because they are small, relatively easy to care for, and have fun and unique personalities.

Research and Society Leadership

Dan has a private collection of animals that he and his team research and care for to gain knowledge and collect data to share with other keepers around the world. Learn more about Rowe Reptiles on their Facebook page.

Recognized as a leader in reptile husbandry, he has been elected President of the New England Herpetological Society for two terms in a row. Based in Massachusetts, the society was established for reptile and amphibian enthusiasts in 1972. As membership continued to grow, the Society expanded to all New England.

Zen Habitats offers a variety of enclosures to suit your pet, no matter the species. We'd love to help you select the right enclosure setup for you and your pet. Email or Design Your Dream Setup on our website.