2. Pet store animals are VERY poorly treated and should be avoided.
That kind of universal statement is just plain wrong. While you might have problems with your local petstores, there are PLENTY of amazing pet shops with high quality animals that will result in a much better purchase than most wholesalers or jobbers... heck, many of them will result in a healthier animal than breeders. There are obviously *some* bad petstores... don't take that and decide that ALL petstores are the devil incarnate, you just make yourself look ignorant.
As to things I learned the hard way... Only probe or pop snakes with your mouth closed... Sometimes frog bites can hurt... Always aim away from face (I don't care what it is, animals have at *least* two dangerous ends that you don't want involved with your face).