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Old 05-31-04, 01:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The evil "Pet Stores"

Good day,

So I have been reading the forums for a couple of weeks as I am in the market for my first reptile, probably a lizard. Not sure which make and model but that is besides the point.
Anyways, I have heard from a couple of snake owners and read numerous posts about never getting an animal from a pet store. So my question to all of you (who reply anyways) is simply why? What are the reasons? I don't plan on buying my animal from a "store", I am waiting 'til the Red Deer show in August, I'm just curious.

Thanks,
Lyndon
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Old 05-31-04, 01:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Generally, not always but most times the animals at pet shops are wild caught and are sick and or not eating and often carry both internal and external parracites. Most of these animals die making your first reptile experience an expensive an un-pleasent one. Some of these animals can be cleaned up but my the time you pay the vet bills you could have bought maybe 2 or 3 captive bred animals.
The key is to pick a species you like best and do a tone of reading about it. That way when you go to the pet store you may very well know more then the clerk. Don't forget that pet store employees are only as good as their training which is often very limited. The clerks at pet stores are sales people not herpetologist. And they sell more then just reptiles so what often happens is they know a little about everything in the store but not much about anything.
Pet stores will also try and sell you every possible little thing they can so be aware of what you actually need and what you don't really need.
Anyway long story short, most pet store animals are wild caught and that is just bad. Do your home work and you'll be fine. Ask us lots of questions about everything and anything.
Here are some good questions to ask a clerk to gage their level of knowlege,
1. Is it wild caught or captive bred? If captive who bred it?
2. How old is this animal?
3. How big will it get?
4. What does it eat?
5. How long will it live?
6. Does it need any special lighting?
7. Where does it come from?
8. What is it's native habbitate like? Wet, dry, what?
9. Is it a male or a female?
10. Do you carry food for it and what does it cost to feed it for a month?
Good luck,
Trevor
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Old 05-31-04, 01:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That' a great response Trevor, very well said, one other quick note- even if the animals were captive bred, and healthy at one point, pet stores tend to buy in bulk so there is no way they can all be properly housed or fed. Not saying every single pet store, of course there are always exceptions.
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Old 05-31-04, 02:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi, boidkeeper covered the main reasons for why pet stores arenít good for buying reptiles, On top of all that that is a very good list of questions too ask But, chances are whoever your talking too will make up an answer. Pet stores wont tell you where the animals come from, at least ones here wont, unless you are there enough, I know exactly what importers our local pet stores used, mainly because the people working there asked me advice during my weekly visits. I pointed out a few things they were doing wrong a few times. Then they started asking me if setups were right, or general questions about the animals. Such as feeding, set up, breeding info. Before I moved they were actually showing me lists of what the company they deal through had for the week, too see if I had any suggestions on what they should bring in.

From all this time spent talking with them, (this was like my hobby lol, I'd walk down and see what was going on in the pet shop). I discovered 2 very important things, One yes they will tell you any good info they have, but 2 they are often wrong, and wont tell you things they think might ruin your decision on buying them. Hmmm that was a nice long speech too basically say, do your own research donít go completely on what they say what they say. Always assume there wild caught, if they are not they probably are marked as so because they charge more for them. You'd be much better off purchasing an animal straight from a breeder, they are captive animals, you can find out about the adults size and care. Form somebody who owns them and successfully is breeding them. They prices are MUCH better. and they havenít been sitting on a shelf on display too the public which can cause allot of stress too most reptiles.
Good luck with your decision.
Devon
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Old 05-31-04, 02:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There's a lot of very good reasons:

1) Markup: pet stores buy from breeders or importers, and add in a profit margin. Do you want to pay that? Breeders likely wont give you wholesale prices, but you'll at least split the difference.

2) Quality: The best animals are sold by breeders. Do you want to buy "the king snake" at the pet store (which probably came from a breeder after the screamers were all sold) , or do you want to pick the nicest one from a clutch?

3) Knowledge: I've seen adult boas feeding on 1 mouse per week because rats were "too big for him". I ALWAYS see chameleons in glass aquariums rather than screen cages. I've been told captive-hatched means the same as captive bred. It goes on and on. I've been told that "oh yes...our 5 dollar anoles are captive bred". Do you want to support this? Can you trust the advice or information you get from them?

4) Humane treatment: imported animals are not always treated very well. Pet store animals are treated as expendable because medical treatment costs more than the animals are worth most of the time. In some stores even proper caging and feeding is too expensive. Do you support this?

5) Support a fellow herper: All other things being equal, wouldn't you rather find a breeder who is knowledgeable and reputable, and give him/her your money rather than sending it to the corporate HQ of some pet chain?

rg
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Old 06-01-04, 11:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Beauty, thanks everyone. Now when I am asked, I don't have to respond with "you just don't buy them from stores". All I have left now is to get a better idea of what I want. This kind of shopping I don't mind.

Lyndon
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Good day,

Lyndon
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Old 06-01-04, 01:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Best of luck! Keep us posted.
Cheers,
Trevor
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Old 06-01-04, 06:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Everyone should cut & paste this thread into a Word file or .txt file and save it.

EXCELLENT info!
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