Crewe’s exotic pet shop, Evolutionary Exotics, is expanding its range of scaly friends and is looking to go online and deliver reptiles to homes. Evolutionary Exotics is awaiting its AAL (Animal Activities Licensing), to sell animals like bearded dragons, chameleons, more snakes, turtles and toads.
Josh Flood is the owner of the shop on Edleston Road which already sells chameleons, tarantulas, scorpions, mantids and insects. He previously worked at Reaseheath Zoo and says more specialists are needed if the ownership of rare breed animals is to continue.
He says there is a lack of decent specialist pet shops in the area providing a wealth of knowledge on state of the art breeding techniques and how to keep these animals properly.
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“We are a pet store specializing in exotic reptiles. So obviously we specialize in reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, tarantulas, scorpions,” Josh said. “The amount that these animals have now, has become popular in the pet trade over the last 10 to 20 years or so has increased, since the early 90s. So obviously we are in dire need of specialists.
“The AL license is an animal activity license. It’s to regulate the sale and maintenance of animals like this, to make sure we’re doing the right thing for all of these animals, housing them in the right size, in enclosures, and so on. is making sure that we then describe that.”
Once the new license is obtained, Josh hopes to expand his business, even delivering reptiles to homes.
“I’m a specialist in the keeping, housing, maintenance of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, so a kind of lower section of vertebrates. I used to work in zoos, various pet stores, and specialized since I was about 13, with those guys.
“We have specialists because the care needs of these animals are so specific. It’s a matter of environmental parameters, making sure the enclosures are suitable for them, you know, things like that. dietary requirements can also be very complicated supplement regimens.
“The problem with them was that there were so many in the 90s that you could easily get hold of. We didn’t really know the care requirements back then. Now that we do, it’s more imperative that we have specialist stores that know exactly what they are talking about and promote the welfare of these animals.“
Josh says there is a high demand for reptiles and invertebrates.
He added: “Well you’d be surprised these days it’s so much easier than looking after a cat and a dog all the time. Many owners are also more than happy to have reptiles, fish, amphibians, etc. in their rented accommodation.
“And then a lot of other people keep them for educational purposes. We try to study these animals and conserve them, so that’s another big reason why we have a lot of great keepers. I have people who travel from all over the country, they are all here to learn how to work with these animals and promote conservation and education for the future.
“We mentioned that a lot of people might say a snake wants to live in a tree in the jungle and doesn’t want to be in Crewe. A lot of the animals we work with today are captive bred. And Brexit has stopped a lot of import/export, a lot of the animals we look at these days are captive bred in the UK, that’s where a lot of the licensing comes in.
Josh explained that it’s irresponsible to own a reptile without having the experience to care for them and that if they were to escape they probably wouldn’t last long.
“Most of the reptiles that come out into our natural ecosystem in the UK would not survive,” he added. “It’s way too cold, the night temperatures would kill them. This is an Australian species that is normally over 32 degrees Celsius, obviously we don’t get 32 degrees Celsius on a regular basis.
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