back to school!

17th June 2016


I’m super excited to announce that I (Clare; the boss) will be heading back to formal academia in a few months’ time.  If all goes to plan I will be undertaking a PhD study in Herpetology at the University of Lincoln under the guidance of my fantastic new supervisor.  I cannot reveal any more information just yet as things are still being finalised but I can say that this project is going to create some serious waves and have a massive impact within the reptile and amphibian fields, the exotic pet trade and, potentially, international animal protection laws and policies.  I can hardly wait to get enrolled and to start changing the world.


Now, the mystery skull I showed you all last week.  It’s actually a scientifically accurate replica from an American company called Bone Clones.  They provide synthetic specimens to teaching facilities, scientific establishments and collectors across the globe.  I've had my eye on a relica Smilodon fatalis skull for years! This particular skull is a direct replica of one from a 26ft (8m) female Green Anaconda and is part of a collection at the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences - check them out on Facebook!


In viewing the skull from the front you can see how the teeth and mandibles are structured.  The bones of the skull are connected by ligaments that stretch and allow the animal to open it’s mouth to super proportions to swallow prey as large as deer Capybara, wild Pigs and even Caiman!

Special thanks to Dr Daniel Pincheira-Donoso for allowing me to get a few "snaps" during my visit!

I’ve been mentioning a lot of proposed changes coming to Grace’s Rest on our social media feeds lately and work is still ongoing to implement them.


Thanks to all the great feedback on our provisional display boards that we premiered at the start of this year we will soon have a whole new professional display tailored around what we now know you, our supporters, like best.  I am also in the process of designing a super secret display feature for our travelling pitch to go with the new boards but to make this a reality we will need the help of some willing helpers; calls will be going out to local colleges and universities soon!!!


Along with the new display will come new fundraising products.


T-shirts designed EXCLUSIVELY for Grace’s Rest are to be added to our line-up.  The shirts are made from ethical (vegan) materials and will be available in a variety of sizes with all “profits” being reinvested into the rescue and our campaign work.  I can hardly wait to show you the finished design and reveal the identity of our extremely talented and generous artist…but that will have to wait!


We will also be adding some new crafty-type items to the following the success of our ever popular gecko and butterfly sun-catchers.  Again, I’m not going to reveal too many details just yet but I will say that a whole host of animals will be covered to suit all tastes.  Look out for an exclusive reveal at Birmingham Wildlife Festival tomorrow!


Our plans for the future get bigger and wilder with each passing day.  We are actively seeking investment to back our plans and to make them a reality.  I dream of a day when we have such land and dedicated buildings that no animal need be referred elsewhere simply because we do not have the space to comfortably house them.  On that day we will be able to expand to not just cater for reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and small exotic mammals but we will be able to assist clients needing to rehome fish, birds and larger mammals too.  We will have wildlife habitats to showcase our native flora and fauna across multiple biomes.  There will be a sensory garden, meeting rooms and awesome new workshops on conservation, British wildlife and loads more.  Plus we will finally be able to take on volunteers!!!


Big changes are afoot, and we can’t wait to share them all with you!

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Office hours: 10am - 5pm


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Meet the Owner-Operator, Clare Barnard BSc.(Hons)


Clare is a research scientist and PhD candidate at the University of Lincoln where she is studying wildlife conservation and the direct impact of the exotic pet trade on wild animal populations.  She will be working from the Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Adaptations.  Clare has also been honoured to become part of the Global Amphibian Biodiversity research team.


Clare has almost 20 years professional experience in the husbandry of exotic animals a specialism in the genetics of British herpetofauna.  She has worked with wild Adders (Vipera berus) and endangered Natterjack Toads (Epidalea calamita) under Natural England license conditions.  Clare has worked as a zookeeper and within private collections including her own.  She lives in rural North Warwickshire, on-site at Grace's Rest, with a whole host of animals!

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