Does your lamp fitting need replacing?

Reptile lamps (heat and light, not UVB) are normally incandescent, filament bulbs. Halogen are becoming a bit more popular but are still quite pricey so the traditional heat lamp remains the top seller. They produce light, with heat as a waste product (because they are inefficient at producing light – hence the move to energy efficient lamps in the home). Due to the way they work, heating a thin metal filament in an inert gas to prevent burning, they have a relatively short life span, somewhere in the hundreds of hours. Poor care during transport, couriers throwing boxes around for example, can reduce this life further. However one thing that is almost guaranteed to shorten the life, right down to a few seconds in some cases, is a poorly connected or maintained lamp fitting.

ceramic lamp fitting

Lamp fittings usually come with the advice something along the lines of “must be fitted by a qualified electrician”. This is often viewed as a covering strategy by the manufacturer. If there is a problem and damage is caused they will always ask for proof that it was fitted correctly. However it is actually essential that fittings are installed by someone who knows what they are doing. In extreme cases, when fitted incorrectly it can lead to electric shock (and potentially death!) or fire. In less extreme cases a poorly connected fitting will result in shortening the lifespan of the bulbs.

Apart from knowing which wire goes to which terminal, a good electrician will also know that the terminal will have a hole for fitting the wire that is bigger than the diamenter of most wires used. This extra space needs to be filled with as much of the wire as possible, so the ends of most will need to be properly trimmed of insulation and doubled over to fill the space (and the trimming of the insulation needs to be done properly or the wire can be weakened). It is normally at this point that problems occur with a lot of fittings. Any looseness, gaps or weakness in the wire or pulling pressure on the terminals will result in a poor connection. What can happen then is electricity will “jump” across any tiny gaps or heat up the connection or wire at  points of stress. This can lead to heating and cooling of the connection when the lamp is switched on and off, which can make the situation even worse over time. Fittings can become very hot and if the terminal becomes too loose, can start to spark. Once this happens the voltage generated when the spark occurs is enough to blow any bulb instantly.

We obviously sell lots of bulbs and occasionally one will blow before its time. However when this happens repeatedly it is nearly always down to faulty fittings or pulling out a plug without turning off the switch first (ever noticed the spark when you do this? That’s a very high voltage pushing the electricity across the gap created by pulling the plug away from the terminals and this shortens the life of the bulb.)

So if you find that you are going through more bulbs than you think you should, have a serious think about replacing the the fitting (you may be able to see discolouration, even burning, on the terminals). It will save you money in the long run and possibly even your house! It’s worth checking them from time to time anyway, especially if you have an animal that can get to the cable and put strain on it.


The Angell Pets Team

Pet Shop Gloucester Advice Notice – Product recall for Komodo reptile products

Pet shop Gloucester advice notice

We have been notified by our suppliers that there has been a product recall on several Komodo electrical products. We have NOT stocked any of these products in our pet shop Gloucester, so OUR customers need not be concerned but if you have bought any Komodo products elsewhere you need to view the following links to see if your items are effected. You should then go back to where you bought the items and ask for a replacement.

Komodo converter plug Customer Notice

Komodo Product Recall details

Please contact us at our pet shop Gloucester if you require further clarification.

The Angell Pets Team.

Pet shop Gloucester tips – what’s the best pet for a child

Pet shop Gloucester tips series, top five considerations when selecting a pet for a child.

  1. Pet shop Gloucester consideration number one – budget. It seems a bit mercenary to suggest your first consideration should be your budget. What I mean is the lifetime budget for the animal. Some animals are cheaper than others. For instance a rabbit is cheaper than a western hog nose snake. The housing and equipment is cheaper as well. However, over the lifetime of the animal the rabbit is by far the more expensive option. You have to take into account the feed, the cleaning, the need for vaccination, boarding if you are lucky enough to have a holiday,  everything. It makes me smile sometimes when customers pass comment about the leopard tortoise being expensive when tied up outside the dshop is their pedigree dog. A dog is probably the most expensive pet you can own (unless you count horses as pets that is). So think about the cost upfront and if you don’t think you can afford it get something cheaper overall. It is not fair to buy an animal you can’t afford to keep for its entire life.
  2. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.2 – space. Is you space limited? Look at spiders, insects, snails, frogs, small lizards or snakes, small mammals (up to rat size). Space not an issue? Don’t disregard the ones already mentioned but also consider chinchillas, ferrets, hedgehogs, rabbits and guinea pigs, larger lizards (beardies) larger snakes (royal pythons etc), birds, cats and dogs (small dog, its for a child). All these animals are suitable for a child but have there own space requirements. Generally the larger and more active the animal, the bigger the enclosure you will need. It seems obvious but it is surprising how often this is overlooked. Customers have been in and said something along the lines of “I bought this bearded dragon at so and so in a “starter” set up and it’s getting a bit big for it now. How big will I need to get next?” When I tell them they look at me as if I’m trying to pull a fast one and counter with “but they said it would be alright in a 2 foot viv.” Sorry but I am not responsible for the bad advice you received elsewhere, I can only tell you what you need. So be sure you know with certainty how much space you need for the lifetime of the animal.
  3. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.3 – nocturnal or diurnal. Is it going to be awake at night or during the day. The obvious thing to think is not to get nocturnal as it will be up all night. However is your child at school? Then it may be better to not to get a diurnal animal as it will be active when the child isn’t there and asleep when he/she gets home. A lot of supposedly nocturnal species are in fact more crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) which seems ideal.
  4. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.4 – lifespan. A mouse is going to live for around 18 months, a chinchilla up to around 20 years (15 is more usual).Pet shop Gloucester animals If you think your child’s interest in animals is a passing phase then a shorter lived species is better. Then you are not left looking after an animal no one is interested in anymore (not fair on the animal). If you want to avoid the stress of a death in the family whilst your child is still young go for something a bit longer lived. This is a very important aspect of choosing the right pet. Children grow up and leave home. Are they going to be able to take their pets with them into digs at university or rented accommodation? If not, be prepared to look after it when they are grown up and gone. In some cases (tortoises and parrots for example) your child is going to have to consider who they are going to leave the animal to when they are gone, as it will outlive them.
  5. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.5 – ease of care. All animals have needs that you and your child are going to have to meet. They all need feeding (are you OK feeding live insects to a lizard or dead mice to a snake?). The all need cleaning out (I would suggest a daily litter tray clean for ferrets). They all need water (even tarantulas that get most of their water from their food). The all need suitable housing (see space considerations). They all have their own individual special requirements (dust bath for a chinchilla or gerbil, gnaw sticks for hamsters and rabbits, hides for a corn snake, misting for a chameleon, somewhere to hang from to moult for a mantis, etc. etc. etc….). Make sure you can meet all these requirements. Obviously to do this you need to know what they are so ONLY buy your animal from someone who knows.
  6. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.6 – we like to give a bonus point. Too many people come into our shop having bought an animal from a dubious source (pet supermarket, online store, facebook, pre owned site, local paper, forum etc.) and were given poor advice, if any advice at all. This leads to the animal suffering and the owner feeling bad about it.  We get offered animals all the time and when we make basic enquiries into the history and previous care the “seller” (they wish!) cannot give even the most elementary of answers. Needless to say we don’t buy from these sources and neither should you. Only buy from a properly licenced establishment (a licence has to be displayed) whose staff can demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of the animal they are selling. Remember any one buying and selling animals commercially without a licence is breaking the law. Do you want to get your child’s pet from a criminal?

Seems a lot to consider? It should do. You need to think carefully before investing in a pet for your child. As a responsible and ethical supplier the last thing we want is for someone to buy an animal from us then come back a  week or two later saying they are not able to look after their pet. If you are unsure you shouldn’t buy, simple as that. If, after considering all of the above you are sure, then come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester and we will be delighted to help. We would also be delighted to help you come to a decision beforehand as well , so come and ask us for any advice you need . The advice is free and from people who know what they are talking about .

Reptile shop expansion

Reptile shop section expansion and refurbishment.

Just a quick post to let you know that we have just completed a small expansion in the reptile shop section.

We have moved the whole section (including the spiders) and added additional space for more livestock. This will enable us to better manage the stock we have (it’s so much easier to paln the feeding when all the animals are in one place) and to add additional stock. I will be looking at the stock over the next week and planning what to add. If anyone is looking for something we don’t currently stock, now is the time to ask.

pet shop gloucester, reptile shop

Part of the reptile section

We are still not finished. I still want to add additional space and move some stuff around but the bulk of the work is done. For the future we will want to replace some of the glass vivs with wooden so there will be some deals to be had for anyone wishing to purchase a reptile or spider complete with a vivarium set up. The vivs. will be suitable for most smaller lizards and snakes (geckos, hognose, childrens pythons etc.), or as starter sets for younger animals.

Now’s your chance to get a fantastic deal if you are looking to buy your first reptile from our reptile shop or if you need space for babies etc.

Richard Angell

How to treat snake mites

How to treat snake mites – one method out of  many

How to treat snake mites

There are many ideas on how to treat snake mites. Most have their own merits and most have there own drawbacks. I have used a few of these and have had success removing the mites but have also had less desirable results as well. The only method I have used where the downside is much less than the up is the one I am going to outline here.

If you have a lot of snakes (a breeder or just lucky enough to have a large collection) you may find the main drawback of this method of how to treat snake mites a little to much for you. Basically it takes a bit more time than other methods. However it’s the safest I have found.

To illustrate the method of how to treat snake mites I am going to use a real example of an extreme infestation. The snake in question was very weak and in considerable distress and had been for some time. There were other factors involved concerned with poor care but I am going to concentrate on how to treat snake mites so I will leave those to one side for now.

I will mention other methods of how to treat snake mites I have tried or where I have heard of others that have tried them. I will outline what I have found to be the downsides of these other methods of how to treat snake mites and of the method I use. Whichever method you decide to use is your choice and no doubt will be based on your own particular set of circumstances. I am not saying my method is the best for everyone but it is the best for me and you may want to try it too.

  • Firstly if your snake is badly infested (if it is – why have you let it get that bad?) you need to give it a bath in warm water to get the bulk of the little buggers off. Actually this is not first. First you need to make sure you don’t have long sleeves on or a woolly jumper. You don’t want them getting caught up in your clothing and spreading to someone else’s collection (especially mine – alright!). Once you are correctly attired give the snake a bath. Most snakes (all the ones I have come across) are OK with being bathed. I use something like a RUB or large cat litter tray and do it outside of the shop.  Let the snake have a good old soak and then run your hands down its body from head to tail over the water to get off the ones disturbed by the dunking and let the little sods drown. In my example of how to treat snake mites I had to change the water twice! My hands were black with dead mites.
  • Once you have done this, dry the snake in some paper towel. Dispose of this immediately, live mites will come off on it. Your snake is now ready for treatment.
  • If you have a spare RUB or similar, secure plastic tub I would use this. If not, it isn’t essential. I use Zoo Med Mite Off to treat the actual snake. I have heard people say that it’s not effective. However this is because it has not been used correctly. You will be very lucky to get away with only one treatment. Usually it takes two or three. The most I’ve had to use was four on a particularly stubborn case on a common boa I rescued.
  • Spray the snake from head to tail, be quite liberal. The benefit of Mite Off over other treatments is that I have not heard of a single substantiated case of it harming the snake, even with neonates. Because of this you can use it around those stubborn areas near the eyes and corners of the mouth. Run the snake through your, now wet, hands a few times. If you can see any mites pick them off and pop them or drown them in some water. I prefer to pop them, it’s quite satisfying, it’s my favourite part of this method of how to treat snake mites.
  • Once the  treatment is complete, put the snake in the RUB lined with some paper towel with just a water bowl and put to one side. Clean up the area you have been working in and throw away any soiled towels. If I were you I’d throw them in the dustbin outside, not in the kitchen bin – just to be on the safe side.
  • Now turn to the vivarium. Take out everything that isn’t fixed down. I would strongly suggest, if you can afford to, that you throw away any wooden items. Alternatively you can freeze them overnight or cook in the oven for an hour (if they will fit). This will stink out the house for a while though – you have been warned. This will also kill off any mites hiding in the crevices. Empty out the substrate and throw it away. Bleach any water bowls. The next stage is critical to this method of how to treat snake mites.
  • I have found the best thing to treat the vivarium itself is isopropyl alcohol. It can be ordered from your pharmacy. Pour some on some paper towel and wipe it over every surface in the viv. If you have fittings that you cannot remove make sure you get some into any edges and under any mountings. The effect of the alcohol is to dry out any mites and importantly, their eggs. Be thorough.
  • The benefit of using  isopropyl alcohol in this method of how to treat snake mites over other treatments is, apart from its effectiveness, it leaves no residue, evaporates very quickly and has no toxic fumes. The disadvantage is that it does require a bit more effort compared to alternatives.
  • I have also used Callington mite spray and this is effective. However I lost two young garter snakes shortly after putting them back in the viv. I left the viv. to ventilate for several hours before putting them back but two of the three snakes clearly had their nervous systems poisoned. They started fitting and died fairly quickly. I asked around and initially couldn’t find any other instances of this. However since then a well known breeder has told me that he has lost some snakes after using Callington. He was using it directly on the snakes, which he has been doing for years without incident, and has now stopped using it. The snakes he lost were also quite young so I think it prudent to only use this product with older snakes and only as a viv. treatment. Customers do use it but it’s not my favourite method of how to treat snake mites.
  • This same breeder has routinely used Ardap for his vivs. on an annual basis. However this year, following his routine treatment, which takes him all day, he lost six snakes. He certainly knows how to use the product and is aware of its potency. Again the snakes were , I believe, all young. I have never used Ardap, not because I disagree with its use, that’s up to you. Its because in my shop I have a large stock of spiders and other invertebrates. Using Ardap would wipe out this stock in a stroke. It would also take out the birds, fish and possibly the small mammals as well. Potent stuff. Probably not the best method of how to treat snake mites for the average hobbyist.
  • Once you have treated the viv. just leave it. If you are using a RUB place it, with the snake inside, in the viv. If not, use paper towel on the bottom of the viv and replace the snake and its water bowl. Either way, check the snake in 24 hours. Replace the paper towel and pop any mites you find with your thumb nail. Check again the next day. On day three, if necessary and it probably will be, retreat the snake. You should also treat the RUB with isopropyl alcohol. If not using a RUB you will need to retreat the whole viv. again. Hence why, in this method of how to treat snake mites I suggest its best to use a RUB if you can.
  • I have recently been using Bob Martin My Little Friend small animal cage disinfectant instead of isopropyl alcohol. I noticed that this product contains alcohol so I gave it a go. It appears to work just as well at a fraction of the price, is readily available (to me – I stock it in my shop) and has had no ill effects on the snakes. However I have only used this a couple of times so far. I have now incorporated it into my method of how to treat snake mites though.
  • Go through the checking process again and retreat if necessary. Keep going until there are no signs of mites. The most treatments I have had to do was four and the fourth was possibly not necessary. this method of how to treat snake mites does require you to follow through all the actions though, miss a step and you are wasting your time.
  • One other method I have used is Frontline (fipronil) flea treatment on the snake and alcohol on the viv. This worked very well but you must take out the water bowl for at least 24 hours and I wouldn’t feed the snake for a few days. Don’t use this method on neonates. I have read it is too strong for them, although because I knew this I didn’t use it in these circumstances so, I am pleased to say, I haven’t any direct experience of that.I no longer use this method of how to treat snake mites though as it is more expensive and just not necessary. Fibronil is now more widely available now though, so the price has come down. The Frontline brand is still expensive.

I have left off discussing predatory mites for two reasons. Firstly I have no direct experience of this method of how to treat snake mites (you buy another, predatory species of mite that eats the snake mites). Secondly I do not use the right sort of substrate in my snake vivs. You need a more soil type substrate for the predatory mites to thrive. Apparently you just chuck ’em in, they go to work chomping on your snake’s mites and then die off when there’s no food left. Neat huh.

When I next get a snake with mites in the shop (we sometimes rescue snake) I will make a video showing how to treat snake mites based on this method. You will be able to see it on our YouTube channel. Subscribe now and receive notification when it’s posted.

So there you go. Zoo Med mite off on the snake and isopropyl alcohol on the viv. is how to treat snake mites safely. Well, its how I do it and it’s always worked with no side effects and that’s what you want, isn’t it.?


Good luck

The Angell Pets Team