There is a lot of noise being made about a recall of frozen rodents for reptiles at the moment. There have been a number of cases of salmonella food poisoning loosely linked to reptile owners. Tests have revealed that one supplier has had salmonella found in the frozen rodents they supply to the trade. As a result, several businesses have been forced to recall their stock if they use this supplier.
We have never used this supplier for frozen rodents and so have not been directly effected by this recall. Our own supplier regularly tests for salmonella throughout their process and at the time of writing all tests continue to prove negative. So far so good.
However, as some of the businesses effected (such as Pets at Home) are quite large and as their customers are having to find new shops to purchase their own supplies from; this is now effecting the rest of the supply chain. Additional pressure is being applied as shops that were effected by the poor quality of their existing supplier are having to find better, safer supplies elsewhere. We are now seeing shortages in our supply chain as this increased demand all round starts to bite.
Whilst we still have large supplies in store, we are now seeing shortages in some sizes when re-ordering. We have fresh deliveries every week so these shortages will soon start to become apparent. Obviously we are also seeing increased demand as other shops’ customers start coming to us to find supplies.
Please make sure you get your supplies early, before you run out of your own stocks at home as over the next few weeks we do invisage running low of some sizes, particularly of mice.
Of course, even though our supplies have proved negative for salmonella it is always necessary to wash your hands after handling any animal. I am sure I don’t have to tell our own customers to wash their hands after handling a dead rat and before putting your hands anywhere near your face, work surfaces or food but apparently it seems there are about 900 people since 2015 that did need telling because they clearly didn’t do it!
Throughout the lock down we have had an embargo on the sale of animals from our store as non-essential items. No one should have been leaving home for any reason that was not essential. Food for your pet is essential, as are a number of other items, bedding, hygiene products, medicines, toys (essential for the well being of your pet) etc. A new pet was not essential, so unless it was to replace a deceased partner of a social species, or you were in the store buying your normal supplies anyway we had stopped selling animals. We knew this embargo was coming in advance so we stopped restocking with animals before the lock down happened so for the most part we didn’t have any in stock anyway.
The government has now moved to a new phase. The emphasis is moving away from “stay at home” although you should still do this if at all possible, and focusing more on responsible social distancing whilst trying to gradually return society back to normal, over time and with very strict monitoring of the results of any changes. We feel that in line with this change we are now in a position to start offering our livestock for sale again.
This is not a case of everything returning to normal. We already have a social distancing policy in place at our Gloucester pet shop. Only one customer group in the shop at any time, queuing kept to a minimum outside the shop with customers keeping at least 2m apart. Staff maintaining 2m from customers at all times. Click and collect ordering available by telephone and on line in our web store and FREE local delivery for telephone orders. We will be keeping all these procedures in place and this will have an impact on the returning sale of animals.
In normal times we actively encourage prospective owners to interact with their new pet (hold where appropriate), prior to purchase. Under the corona virus restrictions we cannot return to this at present as it would break the social distancing rules. You may ask to look at an animal in its enclosure and where possible staff will try to place the animal in a carrier for you to look at, both of these can be done whilst maintaining 2m between staff and customers but I’m afraid that is the limit of interaction before purchase. You will not be able to hold or inspect the animal further. Our staff will do all the normal pre-sale inspections and of course our livestock policy (the most generous we have found) remains in place to offer you protection.
This is the only way we feel we can return to selling animals whilst maintaining protection for our staff and customers. Please note that this service is available to customers only. We still have a policy of no browsing the animals. We have wide variety of livestock and it attracts a lot of casual visitors. During normal times this is not an issue (unless the “free zoo” visitors get in the way of genuine customers or, as happens from time to time, are disruptive – in which case they are asked to leave). However during the pandemic they represent an unnecessary risk to staff and customers and would also be preventing genuine customers from entering the premises. So for now the “Free Zoo” remains closed. We have had a couple of instances where members of the public have become abusive and/or aggressive with staff when asked to leave if they are not making a purchase and just want to “look at the animals”. Fortunately the number of these instances have been very few but they should not have happened at all. We have a zero tolerance policy toward abuse of staff and will remove from the shop anyone who decides that the middle of the worst crisis to hit the country since the war is a good time to start trying to throw their weight around. As I say it’s rare and we appreciate the rest of our community who understand the need for these restrictive practices at this time.
We update our livestock list on this website daily (or when it changes) and our web store also has all our livestock displayed with prices. All animal sales remain in store only. We do not sell animals to anyone we have not met and chatted to, about the care and welfare of the animal, first.
Finally, customers often have to have a think before making the decision whether to buy that particular animal. Quite right too, you should never rush into purchasing a particular pet. We would ask however that whilst making the decision you leave the store if it is going to take a few minutes as we cannot allow anyone else in at the same time as you so there could be a queue outside.
Difficult times call for difficult measures and we know none of this is exactly an ideal “customer experience” so we thank you all in advance for your understanding as we try to remain in business whilst protecting ourselves and our families as well as you and yours.
We are always looking to increase the range of stock we hold in store in our Gloucester pet shop. We have just reorganised the shop floor again to enable us to get a new order of stock in this week. We have restocked with some old favourites that are popular with our customers but that we cannot get through our regular weekly deliveries from our normal wholesalers and we have also added some new lines. One of the new lines is actually both. It is a new brand to replace the brand we used to stock but can no longer get. Turns out to be the same product with a different label.
Komodo Nano Vivariums
These are our favourite enclosures at our Gloucester pet shop for housing tarantulas and other inverts. like mantids. They are glass, so easy to clean, well ventilated and stakable (for the larger collections. The larger sizes can also be used for small amphibians or reptiles (some of the smaller gecko species). We have stocked these before and they are always popular but due to minimum order levels are not always available.
Komodo Terraced Water Bowls
These heavy resin bowls will grace any vivarium. Will not be overturned by even the most active of lizards or snakes. We always sell out of these quite quickly. I have just found out the real reason they were on the order though. Billie wanted one to match the hides she has in her hognose viv. Cheek.
Hugs Dog Beds In Grape And Teal
We have a new range of Hugs dog beds in stock at our Gloucester pet shop in two attractive colours. These come in rectangular and oval formats and compliment our other ranges of beds already held at the store. Theyt are also very reasonably priced considering their stylish design.
Geo Range Of Cat Scratchers
This is a new product and we only have one model from the range in so we can make ourselves familiar with the product. They looked good in the brochure but we like to know what we are selling. From first look the model we have in stock looks like a winner and again is very reasonable priced as it is an activity toy as well as a scratcher.
Happy Pet Bird Toys
A return of a range of old favourites to our Gloucester pet shop. With a couple of exceptions, we have stocked all these toys before and they sell out quickly everytime. Good value and will keep the fussiest of birds occupied for hours. We also have a couple of new items to expand the range further.
Happy Pet Crafty Creatures Range
Back by poular demand, this range of soft dog toys in the shape of some of the animals we sell!. Spiders, geckos and chameleons. We also have Chuckie the chimp back in our Gloucester pet shop for the first time at Hucclecote.We stopped stocking him at Southgate Street because the drunks would continually set him off and it drove Bille mad. Not a problem we have now we are out of town thank goodness, so Chucky’s back.
Komodo Turtle Food Range
We stocked a very popular turtle food product range for a number of years. However the supplier became less and less reliable, to the point where we were finding placing an order a bit of a lottery as to what, if anything, we would recieve. We have been looking for a suitable replacement and have been disappointed with the alternative products. We saw this new range in the brochure and thought it looked good. Turns out it is the old product supplied under a their own brand name via one of our other suppliers. Result. We have limited numbers of each item this time round because we were not certain how good it would be. Now we know it is our old product, so popular with our existing customers we will order more next time.
We always have a range of different flavour jelly pots in store but now we have even more. All the favourites with some exotic additions like melon. Always popular with birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
We will obviously keep trawling the trade press for new and innovitive products to stock in our Gloucester pet shop so keep up to date by visiting the store, checking out this blog or our Facebook page, visiting our webstore or signing up to receive regualr updates. Of course you could do all of the above.
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.
Time to post a new current livestock list for Angell Pets Hucclecote store. All are on our website but it’s good to put everything in one post from time to time. I have added a couple of “coming soon” items this time as the arrival of these animals is fairly imminent (next week or the week after). We are a little light on spiders this week but we will be getting some more very soon. I haven’t added these to the list as I haven’t decided which we are getting yet.
Deaths Head Cockroach
Madagascan Hissing Cockroach
Indian Stick Insect
Giant Spiny Stick Insect
Giant Prickly Stick Insect
Dwarf White Woodlice
Tropical Grey Woodlice
Giant Orange Woodlice
Argentinian Star Tarantula
Cameroon Red Baboon Spider
Flame Rump Tree Spider
Guyana Goliath Birdeater
Hati Hati Purple Tarantula
King Baboon Spider
Malaysian Earth Tiger
Mexican Red Rump Tarantula
African Land Snail
Giant Malaysian Shield Mantis *COMING SOON*
Whites Tree Frog
Albino Horned Frog *COMING SOON*
Chinese Water Dragon *COMING SOON*
Leopard Gecko “Montanus”
Madagascan Giant Day Gecko
“Kastanie” Corn Snake
Kenyan Sand Boa
“Chocolate” Royal Python *COMING SOON*
Timineh African Greyt Parrot
White Faced Cockatiel
Guinea Pig *COMING SOON*
Lion Lop Rabbit
Coldwater *COMING SOON*
Temperate *COMING SOON*
Tropical *COMING SOON*
Please note our list changes daily. For example if I had writeen this before opening this morning it would also have contained guinea pigs in stock and a Yemen chameleon, so please get in touch to see what we have in our Angell Pets Hucclecote store on any given day. Alternatively visit our website.
Following on from our move to Hucclecote we are now growing our list of livestock in store and available to order. Every now and then I post the current list. I don’t do it too often as it changes almost daily but a quick post of what we currently have is often welcomed by our customers.
We do not have birds or fish at present. We can’t stock birds until we have finished painting because of the fumes and the area where the fish are going has only just been re-plastered ready for the tanks to go in. Obviously the tanks have to be matured before we can put fish in them.
Please note this list is only what we have in store and does not include the much larger range available to order.
So here is the current list as it stands today, it will be changing tomorrow.
Our livestock list changes daily but every now and then I like to post a current list just to keep everyone up to speed with the types of animals we stock or can get. It is a bit of a double edged sword. If I post everything we can get, we are flooded with requests for animals that are not currently available. If on the other hand I post just what we have in at present, people get the impression that this is all we can get. So we have all our current stock on our web store (although it cannot be ordered from there, you need to come in for livestock) and I post a current list from time to time on here so people can see that it is changing regularly.
Here is the list as of today. Please note that it could well be very different tomorrow.
The New Year is well underway and we have a lot of new livestock in store and even more available to order. Every now and then I post what we have in our shop so now would be a good time for an update.
From now until the end of December we have a fantastic offer on. Buy ANY complete set up, for any animal and receive one months food FREE.
We have a range of set ups for birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates to suit all budgets.Complete set ups include the housing, relevant equipment for that animal, substrate, decor where relevant, the animal itself and now, in addition, one months food FREE.
We have set ups for budgies, cockatiels, finches and canaries, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats and mice, gerbils and hamsters, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, day geckos, crested geckos, chameleons, cornsnakes, milksnakes, boas, pythons, frogs, tarantulas, mantids, stick insects and many more.
All our set ups are put together by the most experienced and qualified team in Gloucester so you get all the correct and best equipment for your new animal. You can contact us here or on Facebook or on 01452 501882 to find out more.
Our Reptile Boarding facility here at Angell Pets has grown rapidly in popularity since being launched a couple of years ago.
Most of our customers, lucky enough to go on holiday each year, are returning to book their animals in each time and new people are hearing about our reptile boarding service and using us for the first time. Peak times are now booked up months in advance. For example Easter and August this year were both virtually fully booked two months in advance.
We have some space this summer left in July and September with a few odd days only in August for reptile boarding. We do have a little space left for birds and small animals but not much.
If you wish to take advantage of our excellent reptile boarding rates and have your animals looked after by top qualified staff please do book now to avoid disappointment.