There is a common saying in Texas that “the only good snake is a dead snake.” Kim Ellis has spent her career attempting to combat this idea, rescuing reptiles and a variety of other wildlife from unfit homes and dangerous areas in order to safely release them back into the wild or find better suited homes.
Ellis got her start shortly after college and learned most of her animal knowledge through trial and error and through the time she spent with her own pet reptiles.
“I never could have animals growing up as my father was allergic. We eventually did get one cat but she was not very nice. So, when I graduated from college I got my first cat. Eventually I found a Bearded Dragon Lizard at a pet store and it was instant LOVE,” said Kim Ellis.
Ellis attended Texas A&M with a major in business, doing very little work in the animal sciences. Her skills and knowledge were, for the most part, self-taught with some help from a large network of friends with similar interests.
Utilizing her skills, Ellis has worked for a variety of non-profits over the years, beginning with her own that she founded shortly after the adoption of her first Bearded Dragon.
“I would take in unwanted reptiles and then finally opened my first non-profit. I was one of the Houston SPCA’s partners so when they had a seizure, they would call me to pick up the reptiles. That soon expanded to birds, pigs, small animals and exotics,” said Ellis.
As part of the SPCA, Ellis would drive all over the Houston area picking up animals who needed a new home.
“Three of the biggest pick ups I did were thirteen large McCaws, five large 15-foot Reticulated Pythons, and three hamsters,” she said.
After some issues with her health, Ellis and her family decided to ditch the city in favor of rural living. Her and her husband do wildlife exhibits for the local schools and the community for the entertainment and education of children as well as perform any animal rescue twork hat they are informed of, or come upon.
“We knew we had to get a place with a little land so I could continue helping. Our first visit to Colorado county (when we crossed over the river) we knew we were home. The interesting thing about what we do is that yes, we help the animals, but we help people too,” she continued.