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4,447 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wen't out shopping today; an nipped into one of the pet shop that has recently started keeping a small number of reptiles...I was interested on the stock they had and how they were being kept etc as the pet shop has always been really decent.

As soon as I stepped into the reptile section I was rather disappointed.

They have a stack of four 4foot vivs; a number of hatchling snakes in faunarium type boxes inside another 4foot viv (all boxes stacked) and another 3foot stack of 4 glass vivs.

The first stack housed Yemens Chams, then water dragons, beardies, then in the bottom viv and adult male bull snake.

The top three had UV strip lights and daylight spot lamps; the bottom had a large heat mat underneath a red spot lamp...

Not one of the spotlamps was guarded (and all were well within range of the reptiles) the bottom viv with the bull snake in had the bulb around 6inches from the floor, directly above a heatmat!

This in itself was rather shocking...

The other glass stack was exactly the same...all unguarded spots.

The is another separate 4foot viv with and adult male annery corn; and an adult pair of everglades ratsnakes in it (all together). The male corn was squashed into the only hide on the cool end; leaving the everglades pair sat out in the open. There were pieces of shed stuck around the viv, on the hides, in the water etc...there were numerous dried s***'s all over the viv and it clearly hadn't been cleaned in a couple of weeks at least. There was a sign on the viv ''All ratsnakes in this tank now - £70''.

A number of the snakes in the hatchling tubs had no water; and the bowl in the water dragons viv was full of s*** and green in colour.

I looked for a thermostat probe in all of the vivs and couldn't seem to find any.

I was so angry by the poor husbandry I called the nearest staff member over and pointed out (nicely) that there were a number of snake with no water...She told me they had been too busy that morning to refresh the water bowls and began to attend to them.

I took the opportunity to ask as to why there were no light guards in any of the vivs in the shop; and pointed out that it was absolutely imperitive they had protection or the animals were at high risk from burning.

I stayed calm; gave the benefit of the doubt and was pleasant about it.

She explained that the bulbs didn't need to be guarded as the animals were unable to reach them (this was untrue as there were branches a couple of inches under the bulbs in the lizard vivs) I said ''what about the bull snake; it only needs to lift it's head to touch the bulb?''...

She told me that the snake doesn't reach up and so wouldn't touch the bulb. I started to get annoyed then, and told her it was ridiculous and of course it would stretch out etc.

With that she got really shirty with me and was rather rude and aggressive. She said ''we've been open nearly a year, have had the rspca inspect and have never had any complains so it's really none of your concern, they are all kept correctly, guards are not necessary''!!

I just replied ''right okay'' rolled my eyes and shook my head in disgust. I went on to calmly enquire about the thermostat probe. I asked where the stats were and whether they were actually using any. She said yes there were and pointed out the thermometer! Lol.

I pointed out that was a thermometer and I was talking about a stat...
From the expression on her face it was immediately clear they weren't using any and she then reitterated that the rspca said it was fine, all the animals were kept correctly etc and basically that I was wrong.

I asked how they were maintaining the right temps; and explained about room temps fluctuating etc; with that she just plain ignored me, barged past, walked off and said to speak to the manager. Serious attitude problem.

I did speak to the manager...who recognised me, said she knew I wasn't being petty and that she realised I know what I am talking about etc. She was very helpful and polite and willing to make changes immediately. She also said she knew little about reptiles and left it down to the guy in the shop - who was currently away but would be back in a couple of days. She asked me to pop back in if I'm in town in the next few days and he will make the changes and take my advice etc. So I was pleased with that.

I also pointed out that they had a creamsicle labelled as a corn snake; and although it may seem small that it should be made clear it is a hybrid...and the same with the jungle corn snake they were selling as there was no indication it was a hybrid, nor cannibalistic!!

It will cost me around £10 to get the train back to the shop etc; but I will go back as asked in a few days to help the chap mentioned out. No to have a go or moan, but to make suggestions and try to help them understand the needs of the reptiles they keep. I think they just genuinely didn't realise rather than doing it to cut costs.

If this guy is a bit off with me; I want to be prepared with points (much like I made to the staff member) and how to go about helping them if he isn't overly abliged to listen...

Any tips, pointers etc?

People on here are very knowledgeable; especially the likes of Mason and Sshisto (sorry spelling!) - any chance of a good explaination as to why it is imperitive not to mix snakes or species; to use guards, and thermostats etc. I have seen some very competant posts put to other forum members on these subjects in the past - this is what I am looking for.

Premium Member
6,104 Posts
If you want to acheive your aims here, there is no other option than infinite patience.

The second you lose it with these people they get (naturally) defensive and all of your good words fall on deaf ears.

As for the young girl. Be the bigger person; if you keep your cool in the face of all this she may well go home at the end of the day thinking what a nice woman and how good it is to have learnt something that day, rather than indignation that she has no real right to.

If the manager recognised you and knew of you already how come they didnt know this stuff? Changing waterbowls at suitable intervals is a job the assistant might do, but it's a task that should be delegated by the manager.
Sorry, I just feel bad for the young girl working there who is probably just doing the best she can with the knowledge she has (or doesn't have!!) and got an earfull when you should have spoken to the manager rather than anyone else.

I'd be impressed that she jumped to servicing the animals when you mentioned it rather than just shrugging and skulking away! :whistling2:

just my two penneth...

4,447 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just want to make it clear; I didn't actually have a go at the woman. I kept my cool throughout; and despite being rather angry and worked up inside, I stayed calm and pleasant and decided to point things out and try to explain rather than just ranting and throwing a strop etc. As that really wouldn't get anyone anywhere. Lol.

I did also make a point of saying, both to the girl and the manager, that I wasn't having a go at her, and it wasn't her fault nor down to her etc; as she was just an instructed member of staff. Also that I wasn't being petty of making a scene, but was more interested or concerned about the welfare of the animal.

I kept a pleasant tone, and worded/sounded my questions in a nice manner so as not to induce any nastiness etc. I wanted to try and understand why they weren't using stats or guards etc rather than being accusing as such.

I honestly believe they are just mislead and just didn't realise they were doing any wrong or not fullfilling the needs of their stock. Having said that, if they are selling/keeping the animals they should know.

I was also told they had a breeding trio of bearded dragons upstairs and they were on a thermostat.

But anyway; my intention/issue/meaning isn't to accuse or condemn etc, rather to help them understand and lend a hand... :)

25,686 Posts
Why not refer them to the forums and when they sign up PM them some links to discussions.. there is a wealth of information to be learnt here, and if they are willing to research and adapt I am sure they will be convinced by some of the threads :)

4,447 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, I did think of that...I reckon I may just give them the forum address.

When you keep reptiles and as has happened to so many people; you are told it is not necessary to use stat etc you do just go with what you have been told. Especially if it is comming from someone who (supposedly) knows what they are talking about/doing...

So I reckon that the people in the shop were just wrongly informed.

You know what it is like, and it is so easily done. People come on here adamant is it fine to use a heat mat and such like without a stat as their friend has done it for years and had no problems, or the breeder/shop owner said it was fine without. You take it as read....unfortunately this does make it so much harder to convince people otherwise as they believe so strongly their knowledge is correct.

When I was much younger and bought my first two corn hatchlings and setup I was told it was absolutely not necessary to use a thermostat and was fine to keep them together. The owner of the place swore blind it was more than fine to use a mat on its own...and I took his word for it.

It wasn't until a year later that I realised just how dangerous it was; and I reckon at that time if someone told me I needed a stat I would have had a hard job believing them or convincing myself due to the position and knowledge of the original seller of my corns.

So for that reason, although I am shock and disheartened that people selling these animals don't know how to properly look after them, I cannot really condemn them. I do think that for a shop to be selling these animals on, it is crazy they cannot even understand or provide their most basic requirements though. But this is not for me to judge.

Like I said, I just really want to help, my main concern is not having a go at or causing arguements (and such like) with the staff or managers; but instead the welfare of the animals. I really hurts to see animals at such risk; was almost choking up in there. :blush:
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