Due to an issue with broken tanks our fish stocks have been quite low for a few months. We have now re-installed some of the tanks and are pleased to announce that our tropical fish stocks are climbing back up to where they normally are.
I have updated our livestock list to show our current tropical fish stock. Obviously this list changes all the time so do check out our webstore which will have all the current stock on a day by day basis.
We quarantine all our tropical fish for seven days before putting them on sale to be sure they have no issues and you can be confident of healthy stock. As with all our livestock they are covered by our livestock policy so you can buy with confidence.
Pop in and see us for tropical fish. We have lots of FREE parking and are convieniantly located on the main route out of Gloucester, handy for Cheltenham and Stroud.
There are around nine sub species of the snake species Pituophis catenifer. These go by the common names of Gopher Snake and Bull Snake, depending mainly on regional variation. Rather confusingly the common name Bull Snake is also used to describe certain sub species of the closely related Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus). Care for pine snakes is similar to gopher snakes so this care sheet will cover most aspects of both species, although as I own a Bull Snake (pituophis catenifer sayi) myself it is to this species I am refering when I use the term. Gopher snakes originate from the far western United States and the pine snakes across the south and east, up to New Jersey. Gopher snakes resemble rattle snakes in colour and pattern and will mimic them when threatened. The largest sub species the Bull Snake (Pituphis catenifer sayi) gets its name from the bull like snort it emits when angry. Mine used to do this when I first got it but it soon calmed down with handling and has become one of the most docile, predictable snakes I have ever owned.
Gopher snakes, bull snakes and pine snakes are the largest snakes found in north america (not including the invasive pythons in Florida).The adult size varies from 1m up to 2.3m. You are going to need a large enclosure, I would suggest a minimum of 4′ x 2′. You will not know, until it grows just how big it is going to get so I wouldn’t bother getting a smaller viv. than this. They are also very active, inquiistive snakes, so they do need the space of a larger enclosure and regular changes of layout to keep them stimulated. They really appreciate a bit of excercise out in the house and on a warm day, as long as you keep a very close eye on them you can take them out into the garden for a little explore (depending on the layout, if there is a hole to hide in they will find it). There should always be a large water bowl in the enclosure with fresh water. From experience my bull snake will only drink the water when it is fresh and every time I replace the bowl he will spend a few minutes drinking. I never see him drink at any other time so keep it fresh. It is not necessary to dechlorinate the water in the UK. I often see it stated that the water should be dechlorinated first but this information comes originally from the USA where, historically the chlorine level at the tap is significantly higher (an order of magnitude higher) than the UK. Here it is usually lower than 0.5mg/l and often only a fraction above 0. Our water treatment processes make high levels unecessary. I used to manage a water treatment works and we would have enquiries from US servicemen on whether the water was safe to drink as they couldn’t smell the chlorine!
At least one hide is required, preferably two or more. These can be placed at opposite ends of the vivarium to allow the snake to rest in the correct temperature. Snakes can only thermo regulate by using the ambient temperature around them (unlike us – we can produce our own heat) so need to move around to control their temperature. Whilst shedding, which they will do from every few weeks when young and growing rapidly and every few months when adult, place some damp moss under the snakes preferred hide. This will create a microclimate with raised humidity, making shedding the skin easier. You do not want a raised humidty constantly in the vivarium. Gopher snakes come from arid environments, so dry air (not so for some pine snakes, Florida and Louisianna are pretty humid at times!).
Suitable substrates would include, beech chip, aspen bedding and lignocel (e.g. PR snake life) for a utilitarian set up. I have used them all and they are all fine and have the advantage that the poop is easy to spot and to clean. The darker orchid bark or “bark chips” is fine too, although it is much harder to spot the poop. For the more humid subspecies of pine snake this may be a better choice as it can help maintain the humidity. More “natural” looking substrates are also fine. Gopher snakes live in arid areas with dry, often sandy soil. The gopher snake in the shop is on PR toroise life as a suitable approximation to the natural environment and it works well. Don’t be dictated to by the “keyboard warriors” who will try to tell you what you “must” use. This is at best just their opinion, although they will try to present it as fact and at worst just something they have heard somewhere without the slightest idea as to why it should be.
For smaller snakes a heat mat would be OK but especially if the mat is floor mounted, a larger snake may cause “thermal blocking” (completely covering the mat with its body) so I prefer a ceramic heat emitter with a suitable heater cage to prevent the snake burning itself. A suitably rated pulse proportional or dimming thermostat gives the best level of control over the output of the heater but a simple on/off stat (correct wattage rating) will do the job but with a few peaks and troughs in temperature. A temperature range of 30-32 celcius at the hot end to 24 celcius at the cold end gives a good target range. Allowing the temperature to drop lower overnight gives a more realistic representation of the natural environment and having a lower overall temprature duiring months with shorter days can stimulate them to come into breeding condition. However for basic care the normal temperature range will suffice. Having a thermostat is essential. Reptiles can tolerate lower temperatures for some time, simply becoming less active but over temperature can kill them very quickly. The thermostat prevents this happening. Have a seperate temperature guage as well. Thermostats have been known to fail so knowing what the temperature actually is can be vital.
UVB lighting is not necessary to keep your gopher snake healthy and active. However a day night cycle does help this diurnal snake replicate normal behaviour patterns. Also, you want to be able to see your snake so some form of lighting is beneficial. I like to use LED lighting. This has two advantages, the LEDs produce hardly any extra heat so do not interfere with the control of your heating system or cause burns if touched by the snake and they last many tens of thousands of hours longer that an incadescent lamp or even an energy efficiant fluorescent tube/lamp. You can use the other types of lighting but if using incadescent or halogen, the lamp must be protected by a cage to prevent burning. Energy efficient lamps don’t genreally produce enough heat to burn, which is after all why they are energy efficient.
As the name “gopher snake” suggests, these snakes eat mainly small rodents in the wild. In captivity you will have no trouble feeding defrosted mice and rats. Size the food items appropriately to the snake, generally not more thatn 1 1/2 times the snakes head diameter, although that is a guide and they will take slightly larger. It is illegal to feed live vertebrate animals to other animals in the UK, unless the animal in question is at risk if not fed live food. There is no way this could be claimed for any gopher snake. All the specimens I have ever come across are good feeders on defrosted mice/rats. Feeding live rodents is a bad idea in any case as they bite back and could well end up injuring your prized snake. There will always be someone who insists they have to use live. I have a few words to describe these people. Pop in and see me in the shop if you want to know what they are, I can’t publish them here. Defrost the food naturally, not in a microwave. This can heat up the inside of the food and activate necrotic bacteria and give your snake food poisoning. Once defrosted, pop the rat in a poly bag and stick it under your arm to raise to blood temperature and the snake will feed. In the 16 years (at time of writing) I have had my bull snake it has only had two bouts of not feeding, one lasting five months and one three months. Both times were as an adult and there was nothing wrong with the snake. If your snake misses a feed I would leave it for a couple of weeks before attempting again or you may just waste a few rats.
In the wild, gopher snakes have a lifespan of around 15 years. Captive snakes suffer far less risk and stress throughout their lives (or should do if you are looking after them properly). No predation, environmental controls giving all year round good weather and food on a plate. This leads to much longer lifespans. The oldest I have heard of was reported to be 33 years old. 20-25 years is common. Mine is currently sixteen and is just as active as when he was two.
So gopher snakes (and bull snakes), make excellent first snakes as an alternative to the commoner corn snake or as a next snake for something a little larger and more active. They are much less commonly avaiable however so you may have to shop around to get one.
We have two Exo Terra Mini Wide (30cm x30cm x 30cm) glass terrariums on offer as part of complet set up deals. These versatile small terratriums make ideal enclosure for a range of animals including spiders and other invertebrates, small frogs and small geckos (such as our Kotschys geckos).
As an example of price, a set up for an Asian jungle scorpion would total £60, including the Exo Terra terrarium, a heat mat, substrate, hide, water bowl and of course the scorpion. A Kotchys gecko set up would be £125, including the enclosure, canopy, UVB lamp, heat mat, substrate, water bowl, hide and gecko.
As the Exo Terra mini wide enclosures are made of glass, we cannot send them by courier and we do not courier any animals in any case. These set up deals are only available for collection from our Hucclecote store.
Angell Pets monthly offers are now available in our Gloucester pet shop and on line in our web store. These offers are always popular and our wholesaler may well run out of the more popular stock lines so it is worth grabbing a bargain whilst you can. There are a lot of small mammal offer this month, food and treats. There were also two other dog food offers this month but the quality of those products is so poor that we won’t stock them, so we have left them off this list. Just because we can stock supermarket brands for less than the supermarkets doesn’t mean we will. If we feel that using a product is not in the best interest of the animal it would be hypocritical of us to encourage owners to buy it.
We have one set up with the base stand shown above and one with the hanging stand shown below. All this for the incredible price of only £79.99. Please note we only sell enclosures appropriate for the bird or animal concerned, so these are the smallest cages we would sell for a budgie but are twice the size sold elsewhere for the same bird.
Of course we also stock set ups without stands, cages in black as well as white and other birds. So if you arleady have a place for the cage to go, or would prefer a canary , finches, cockatiels or something else we either have in stock, or can pre order, do come in and see what we have available.
Spring is here, although as I write this the temperature is dropping again after the warm end to February. Ho hum. Our March offers are now in store and also available on line. Last months offers proved very popular so make sure you get in early before we run out.
A little late this month but February’s discounts are now available in store and on line in our webstore. As always, with these prices we can run out of the special offer items, so do get your orders in quick. A short month this month too so even less time to grab a bargain.
2019 is upon us and we have some great offers to start the year. Our regular prices usually beat our competitors anyway but with our monthly offers you can save even more. We’ve included a price comparison where possible to show you how much.
Unfortunately my spinal condition and associated complications has me currently disabled and unable to work and practically housebound. For the last month or two Billie has been running the business on her own carrying out all the shop duties (ordering, unloading deliveries and stocking shelves, serving customers, answering the phone, feeding, watering and cleaning all the animals, cleaning the shop, opening and closing etc.) as well as all the back office duties (banking, stock control, website management, supplier issues, finance, answering customer emails and social media enquiries etc.).
This month her brother, George, has returned from New Zealand and has agreed to help out by giving up his Saturday and a couple of evenings a week to take off some of the pressure.
Not only is this good news for us because of the extra pair of hands but we couldn’t have asked for a more qualified, experienced, expert person to step into the breach.
George has a first degree honours in Animal Science from UWE. During this study he won two awards, including top student. He has worked in the UK with a very wide variety of animals both his own and with a professional animal breeder and flown a variety of birds of prey. He has worked on a rhino reserve in South Africa, tracked king cobras in the Thai jungle (where he broke his collar bone – he always pushes things to the limit!), swam with whale sharks (but didn’t check his camera was charged) and worked on black parrot conservation on Mahe in the Seychelles and the Madagascan Fody on Assumption Island in the Indian Ocean during a year off from his degree.
He lived in New Zealand for three years (at one point working on “Mount Doom” from the Lord of The Rings – his “office”) and twice nearly fell off cliffs! He has been working on the conservation of New Zealand’s endemic fauna including Kiwis, Keas, Kakapo, Tuatara etc. and has worked with the Australasian Swamp Harrier, being one of the few people licensed to fly these birds in the world. He even took a few months out to train vultures for a new business venture in Spain. He recently returned to the UK to take up a full time post at an Oxford college to look after and expand their animal collection and to teach students in the handling and husbandry of these animals including reptiles and amphibians, mammals and birds.
So if you wish to buy an animal from people who really do have the qualifications, experience and expertise to give you the best advice on how to set up an animal’s enclosure and look after it for its lifetime, buying and keeping it in tip top condition; you will not find a team that can compete with Angell Pets. Our range of animals and products covers just about any animal suitable to be kept in captivity and extends to wild birds and wild animals and livestock such as chickens and ducks, goats and horses.
We hope you pop in and see us and once I get all this treatment out of the way I will be back too.
When we originally opened Angell Pets In 2009 it was in a location with ample FREE parking. This was our first location and so we had no idea how much the provision of this free parking was having on our trade. We knew that we were attracting a wide range of customers. Local foot and cycle traffic from the surrounding estates, customers from other areas of Gloucester and customers from further afield. However what we did not know was how much having the free parking was contributing to this business. When we were forced to move from this location at the end of the lease we found a larger shop close to the city centre but about a 100 yards from a large carpark. This was not free but had lots of spaces.
Moving locations effected our turnover significantly, as we expected it would, reduding it by around 40% in the first month. However, with hard work we were able to drive turnover back up to almost pre move levels over the next 6 months. Then Gloucester City Council, at the behest of the Quays, closed the carpark. The effect was dramatic and overnight. Turnover dropped by over 50% and nothing we could do would drive it back up, including having a FREE local delivery service. We did raise an objection to the closure beforehand but the response from the council was “we have done research and it shows the effect on local business will be negligible”. Well, we did not find a 50% reduction in trade negligible. We made a decision there and then to move again and find a location with free parking. However we were tied into a lease for three years before we could action a break clause so we ran our business on half what we were used to for two and a half years before moving again. We are still feeling the financial fallout from this.
Our new location in Hucclecote has plenty of FREE parking. It is also within walking distance of large residential areas and in a convenient location for access to customers coming from further afield by car or bus. We have been open here for 6 months now and takings have risen every month, without fail, since we opened. We have had a host of customers returning who used to use us but stopped when the carpark near our last shop was closed plus lots of new local customers and even more from other towns such as Stroud, Cheltenham, Hereford, Ross and Worcester. All have indicated that at least part of the reason for coming was ease of access and free parking.
Before writing this I did some research and worryingly, most of the advice councils use to determine parking policy suggests that providing free parking does not boost trade and that charging for parking does! Most also suggests that providing more spaces does not help and some even suggests that providing more spaces and/or free spaces actually drives people away. Well our findings aren’t based on surveys or questionaires but on real experience and data and I can assure the councils that customers don’t like having parking restricted or being over charged and that they really do appreciate having ample spaces offered to them for free.
I would suggest that until councils review the advice they are taking to set parking policy we will continue to see trade driven away from city centres. Great for business like us now though with ample free parking right outside our front door!