Okanagan group returning favour to rat breeder hit by flood
By Steve Arstad
The South Okanagan Rehabiliation Centre for Owls mascot, Houdini, has almost fully recovered from effects suffered from eating poisoned rats in June.
Image Credit: Photo contributed
October 07, 2015 - 7:00 AM
OLIVER - A rehabilitation centre for owls and other raptors in the South Okanagan will return a food supply favour by sending a rat breeder some new stock.
Abbotsford rat breeder Mike Hopecraft "The Reptile Guy" took a major a hit last week when he lost almost 200 of the animals when a water line burst and flooded his reptile food business.
Hopecraft had helped out the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls in Oliver when their main food source for their raptors was poisoned in an act of sabotage last June. He donated 160 rats to keep the Centre's program alive.
The Owl Rehab Centre's manager Gail Belvedere says what goes around, comes around.
"Because our breeding program is doing so well, I called him up and said, 'Look, you’ve helped us, so we’ll help you,'" she says. "So we’re sending him 60 rats on Friday so he can get his breeding going."
"It can take up to three months for adult rats to grow, breed and then wean the babies before you can use them for food,” she says.
Belvedere says their rat breeding program is almost back to normal following the poisoning incident last spring.
“Without Mike, we wouldn’t be here, because there is no way we would have been able to purchase these rats," she says. "He gave us rats of all different ages, some were pregnant, so they got us going right away."
Belvedere says the centre’s mascot owl, Houdini, is almost back to normal following effects of eating the poisoned rats.
“He’s very talkative with us and he’s allowing me to handle him now, so I take him out and walk him around just so he gets used to it again,” she says.
Belvedere says centre staff had to “re-imprint him” like they did when he was young.
“He lost all trust in humans."
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