By Caroleine James
Wrangell Sentinel 

Hommel's unusual pets like to snuggle, not snap


September 6, 2023

Charity Hommel for years enjoyed the company of Pearl, a Southern Vietnamese box turtle that she purchased from a since-closed Wrangell pet store. After discovering that the species was critically endangered, she sent it to a rebreeding program in Florida almost 10 years ago, though she continues to rescue and raise turtles turned over by their former pet owners.

Wrangell's cool, rainy climate might be ideal for banana slugs and bears, but it doesn't usually appeal to cold-blooded animals that rely on the sun's warmth to maintain their body temperatures. However, one reptile-loving resident is committed to providing a safe home for any turtles and tortoises that find their way onto the island as pets.

Charity Hommel has been raising and rescuing reptiles for over 20 years now.

Her lasting love for the animals began in the early 2000s, when her children returned from a friend's birthday party toting unexpected party favors - two turtles, now named...

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